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World shrinks for New Zealand with inaugural 17-hour Dubai flight

WELLINGTON: The United Arab Emirates flagship carrier is preparing for what will reportedly be the world’s longest long-haul commercial flight when it takes off from Auckland to Dubai Wednesday.

The incoming Emirates flight from Dubai landed at Auckland Airport earlier Wednesday after a non-stop flight of 15 hours and 13 minutes.

The return flight was estimated at 17 hours and 15 minutes in the other direction, but the airline said the service would cut journey times by almost three hours each way.


It marks the start of a daily direct service between Dubai and New Zealand, which the airline said would add 125 million NZ dollars (82.92 million U.S. dollars) a year to the New Zealand economy.

The first service was operated with a double-decker A380, but the airline will have the Boeing 777-200LR, carrying up to 266 passengers, regularly flying the route.

“We anticipate high demand for the route, providing a further boost to inbound tourist traffic into New Zealand that now exceeds 3 million a year,” Emirates president group services Gary Chapman said in a statement.

The service would also give New Zealand exporters more capacity through Dubai, which would particularly benefit those with perishable goods for markets in the Middle East and Africa.

New Zealand Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the service increased New Zealand’s connectivity with the rest of the world.

“The United Arab Emirates is our primary entry point to the Middle East, and one of New Zealand’s top 15 trading partners. Being a trading country, we rely on effective air services to create much needed connections with the rest of the world,” Bridges said in a statement.

“Direct flights will encourage even more trade and tourism between our two countries, by offering more choice to passengers and freight customers.”

The route is expected to become the world’s second longest commercial flight when Emirates launches a service between Dubai and Panama later this month.

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.