Image : Courtesy: Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways gained the title of operating the world’s longest commercial flight as its flight QR90 landed in Auckland, New Zealand from Doha, Qatar after a journey that lasted 16 hours 23 minutes and covered 14,535 km. The flight landed 5 minutes earlier than scheduled at 1825 GMT on a fine, sunny Monday morning.
The plane was welcomed by a water cannon shower, a tradition which has been going on for quite some while now for inaugural flights when they arrive at their destination airports, after spending nearly 3 quarters of a day in the air during which it passed over Oman, India, Sri lanka before continuing the longest leg of its journey over the Indian Ocean, from where it headed towards Australia and finally landed safely in New Zealand.
The most astounding fact of this marathon journey was that the flight hopped over 10 different time zones, giving new hope to the beleaguered airline industry, which has stopped serving numerous long haul routes in the past couple of years due to economic losses as airlines fail to sell tickets for flights serving such faraway destinations. Only Qantas remains as a rarity among other similarly reputable airlines, to have continued pushing for faraway destinations.
However, this title will not remain with Qatar Airways for a very long time as Qantas has announced its plans to have a similarly non-stop commercial flight operating from Perth to London, which will commence its operations by March 2018.
Continuing these long haul flights will require a steady revenue model and a proper strategy needed to lure in customers towards making this commercial service a more viable proposition. Even though Boeing long-range Boeing 777-200LR aircraft is ready to be more jam packed with customers, the impact boils down to how well a certain airline manages to market itself and offset the costs that the airline end up with which includes fuel and lower fares for the economy class.