For a number of years, leaders at Qantas Airways have been wanting to introduce a nonstop flight from Australia to London – a 20-hour-plus flight that would become the longest in the world. That dream may now be realised sooner than many thought, as the Australian carrier has eyed a date of 2022 for the ultralong-haul service.
However, the 17,000km flight is dependant on technological advances by one of the major aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing. In fact, Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce has issued a public challenge to the two companies to extend the range of their new aircraft – the Boeing 777X, which is slated for 2020, and the “Ultra-Long Range” version of Airbus’s A350, which will roll out next year.
Should the record-breaking flight get off the ground in coming years, it will surpass the previous world’s longest commercial flight – the 15,300km flight between Singapore and Newark, which Singapore Airlines operated between June 2004 and November 2013 until rising fuel prices meant it had to be scrapped.
Now, with oil prices dropping and aircraft design becoming more fuel-efficient, airlines are once again turning their attention to ultra long-haul routes in a bid to appease demand. Here’s the list of the world’s current longest flights by distance.
1. Auckland to Doha, Qatar Airways
Launched in February this year, Qatar Airways’ non-stop service to Auckland in New Zealand claims the record for the world’s longest flight. Covering 9,032 miles (14,535km) and crossing 10 time zones, the flight is operated by a Boeing 777-200LR and takes around 17 hours and 30 minutes.
2. Auckland to Dubai, Emirates
Previously the world’s longest flight, Emirates’ service to Auckland has been operating since March 2016 using the Airbus A380. Covering 8,824 miles (14,193km), the flight takes slightly longer than 17 hours.
3. LA to Singapore, United Airlines
United fly to Singapore in just under 18 hours, covering an impressive 8,700 miles (14,000km) with the B787 Dreamliner.
4. Dallas to Sydney, Qantas
Qantas has flown nonstop from Sydney to Texas since September 2014, with the 8,574 miles (13,800km) journey taking 15 hours and 30 minutes in the Airbus A380.
5. Johannesburg to Atlanta, Delta Air Lines
The American airline Delta’s service to South Africa commenced in June 2009 using the Boeing 777. The 8,438 mile (13,581km) flight takes about 16 hours and 40 minutes.
6. San Francisco to Singapore, Singapore Airlines/United Airlines
Both Singapore Airlines and United Airlines fly the direct 8,433 miles (13,572km) trip between San Francisco and Singapore. United flies the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner; Singapore Airlines the Airbus A350, with the flight taking approximately 16 hours and 30 minutes.
7. Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles, Etihad Airways
Etihad’s 16-hour flight from the UAE to the US covers a distance of 8,371 miles (13,473km) in the Boeing 777.
8. Dubai to Los Angeles, Emirates
Dubai to LA, an 8,335 mile (13,414km) flight, takes Emirates just over 16 hours with the Airbus A380.
9. Jeddah to Los Angeles, Saudia
Saudi Arabia’s national carrier flies the Boeing 777 8,314 miles (13,381km) in just over 16 hours to reach LA from Jeddah.
10. Doha to Los Angeles, Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways flies from its Doha base to LA – a distance of 8,305 miles (13,367km) – in just over 16 hours with the Boeing 777.