Emirates plans to resume flights from Dubai to Auckland in January.
The Dubai airline has filed plans for flights to resume on January 3. If this goes ahead, the route will be the longest commercial passenger flight to operate since Covid-19 travel restrictions were implemented.
Replacing a previous daily service with a four-weekly operation, Emirates also plans to fly a Boeing 777-300ER on the route. According to the website RoutesOnline, which specialises in aviation route development news, the Boeing jet would replace the Airbus A380, which previously serviced the 14,200 kilometre flight path.
Changing the aircraft cuts capacity in terms of passenger numbers – with the Boeing capable of carrying about 100 fewer travellers than the Airbus superjumbo. It also looks set to create a new global record for the Dubai airline.
The 17-hour Dubai to Auckland service will set a record for the longest non-stop commercial flight for a 777-300ER jet. To date, Emirates's longest 777 flight was from Dubai to Dallas over a distance of just under 13,000 kilometres.
It's not the first time Emirates has broken world records with its Dubai to New Zealand flights. In 2017, the airline unseated Qantas Airways when it flew the longest non-stop scheduled commercial flight to Auckland. Operated on an Airbus A380, the Emirates flight landed in New Zealand after a 16-hour, 24-minute journey.
New Zealand travel restrictions
Travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic remain in place for flights to and from New Zealand. Currently, only citizens, residents and those travelling for a critical purpose can fly to the country, and while some commercial international flights are operating, services are limited.
Emirates is slowly resuming its network of services after Covid-19-related restrictions caused it to ground most of its flights in March. The Dubai airline is now flying to 85 destinations around the world. Passengers travelling with Emirates on any route can also claim free Covid-19 medical cover if they contract the virus overseas.