Record-Breaking Flight for Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has launched the world’s longest commercial flight, flying non-stop from the Qatari capital Doha to Auckland, New Zealand.

Qatar Airways’ first flight to New Zealand flies over the city of Auckland on its final approach to the airport. (Qatar Airways)

The inaugural service departed Doha on February 5 and arrived in Auckland early the following day – a significant day for all New Zealanders as it was Waitangi Day, celebrating the 1840 signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document.

Operated by one of the carrier’s Boeing 777-2DZ(LR)s, A7-BBB (c/n 36013), the flight took 16hrs 20mins to complete and covered 9,032 miles (14,535km). After touching down in New Zealand for the first time the aircraft was given a traditional water cannon salute by the Auckland Airport Fire Department.

Travelling on board the flight was Qatar Airways’ Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker who said: “The launch of our new service to Auckland is an important milestone for us as we expand both in the region and globally across our network providing more options and better connections to exciting business destinations in Europe and the Middle East.  Arriving on Waitangi Day and achieving the world’s longest flight for the return record-breaking service makes this an even more momentous occasion for Qatar Airways and provides another accomplishment to celebrate in this our 2oth year of flying the flag internationally for Qatar.”

Auckland is the first New Zealand city served by Qatar Airways.  The new daily flights are operated by the carrier’s 777-200LRs, which are configured in a two-class layout with 42 Business Class and 217 Economy Class seats.

The carried added the Doha-Auckland-Doha daily rotations will also offer 116 tonnes of belly-hold capacity every week to support the growing imports of raw, industrial and consumer materials into New Zealand.  While in Qatar the Hamad International Airport freight terminal, operated by Qatar Airways Cargo, offers ‘QR Fresh’ a seamless temperature-controlled handling and storage solution, to deliver perishable products such as dairy produce, meat and fruits from Auckland into the Middle East and on to major European markets.

Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight touches down on New Zealand’s Waitangi Day in Auckland. (Qatar Airways)





Gatwick Growth Continues

London’s Gatwick Airport has released its February traffic figures which highlights 24 months of passenger growth.

More than 2.4 million passengers travelled through Gatwick Airport in February, a 7.2% increase on last year which marks the 24th consecutive month-on-month passenger growth at Gatwick.

Some 165,177 more passengers travelled through Gatwick in February this year compared to 2014. The growth was driven by an increased average load factor of 81.8% for the month.

Long-haul traffic grew by 8%, with Dubai (the biggest growth route) seeing passenger numbers increase by 13.6%. European scheduled services rose 9.6% over February 2014 with Paris seeing the highest growth following new services introduced by easyJet.

Compared to February last year, there are 16 additional routes in operation for February 2015 including Paris/Charles de Gaulle, Florence, New York, Warsaw, Fort Lauderdale, Kaunas, Tel Aviv, Jakarta, Strasbourg, Puerto Vallarta, Pamplona, Bodo, Tunis, Plovdiv, Luxor and Erbil International in Iraq.

Gatwick Airport’s Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate said: “Two years of consecutive month-on-month growth is a tremendous achievement and shows the benefits of greater competition and low cost travel. We are also benefitting from the huge investment we’ve made in operating the world’s most efficient single runway airport.

“But our continued growth has limits – we are now unable to meet demand across much of the year and are just a few years away from hitting full capacity. Creating more airport capacity in London and the South East will be one of the biggest decisions facing any new Government. Expanding Gatwick would be a genuinely exciting opportunity, and help to create a choice of two world-class gateways for UK and international travellers, promoting competition to keep travel affordable for all. A new runway at Gatwick is deliverable sooner, at lower cost, and without the overwhelming environmental obstacles that face Heathrow.”

To mark two years of growth, Gatwick has released a new time-lapse video showing a day in the life of the airport.

NexGen 737 for Iraqi Airways

Iraqi Airways has taken deliver of a Next-Generation 737-800.
It is the first of 30 aircraft that the airline ordered in 2008.

"The Next-Generation 737-800 will play a key role in helping us modernise our fleet and integrate into the regional and international commercial aviation system," said H.E. Hadi Al Ameri, Iraq's Minister of Transportation. "

Iraqi Airways currently has 39 Boeing aircraft on order, including 29 Next-Generation 737-800s and 10 787 Dreamliners.

Qatar Dreamliner Returns to Service

The airline has resumed its Boeing 787 services after a worldwide grounding of the aircraft in January.
The airline's fleet of five Dreamliners was grounded earlier this year following a directive from both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States and Qatar's Civil Aviation Authority.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker was the first passenger to board the airline's reinstated Dreamliner 787, joined by President Boeing Middle East Jeffrey Johnson, Boeing's Deputy Fleet Chief David Silver and a delegation of regional and international media.

Over the next few weeks and months, Qatar Airways will launch new routes to destinations including Salalah, Oman (22 May); Basra, Iraq (3 June); Sulaymaniyah, Iraq (20 August); and Chengdu, China (3 September).