Emirates Launches Longest Flight, Cancels Second Longest Flight

Filed Under: Emirates

Well this is an interesting week for Emirates.

This Tuesday, March 1, 2016 Emirates launched the world’s longest flight, between Dubai and Auckland. The new daily flight is being operated by a Boeing 777-200LR (though they had the A380 operate the inaugural, as they often do), and is blocked at 17hr15min westbound. It’s impressive how quickly the route launched, as Emirates began the flight only a few weeks after opening reservations.

Auckland, New Zealand

Interestingly the announcement of this route came shortly after Qatar Airways announced that they wanted to begin flying between Doha and Auckland nonstop, though Qatar Airways tends to be all talk, so I couldn’t take that intention at face value (though perhaps Emirates took it more seriously, and wanted to beat them to the punch).

Emirates really one upped themselves when they announced the Dubai to Auckland flight, because prior to that they had announced a new flight between Dubai and Panama City, which would have been the world’s longest flight, prior to this announcement (the Auckland flight is ~250 miles longer than the Panama City flight).

The Panama City route was announced in August 2015, with a planned launch date of February 1, 2016. Unfortunately bookings on the flight were apparently abysmal, because Emirates delayed the new route just a couple of weeks before it was supposed to launch.

They had rescheduled the launch from February 1 to March 31, 2016, in hopes of doing a better job marketing themselves in Panama, building relationships with local travel agents, codesharing with Copa, etc. These are all things they had neglected to do before the original launch. When Emirates announced the delay I figured that was it for the route, and that it was unlikely to ever get off the ground.

And it seems like I was right. This flight has now been removed from the airline’s schedule altogether, so I think it’s safe to say that Emirates’ flight between Dubai and Panama City is canceled.

Panama City won’t be seeing planes with international first class cabins anytime soon

Bottom line

It’s an interesting week for Emirates when it comes to ultra longhaul flying. On one hand they were able to launch the world’s longest route with only a few weeks notice, while on the other hand they gave up entirely on the route they scheduled sufficiently in advance, realizing that it just wasn’t feasible.


If they’re running the airline like a business, I sure can’t blame them. The Auckland route will likely do quite well, while the Panama City route seemed like a real stretch from the very beginning.

Are you surprised to see Emirates cancel their Panama City flight?

  1. I don’t know why EK decided on a direct 77L AKL flight when they’re already running 3 half empty A380s out of AKL every day via Australia. It’s a worse product in every class.

  2. I wouldn’t mind a super long haul flight, as long as I am in business class at least! No way I’m sitting over 17 hours in economy with a seat inches away.

  3. Surely they’ll remove at least one of the A380 services via Aus and opt for a quick turnaround of that aircraft in SYD or MEL? Otherwise seems like overkill for such a small city like AKL, especially with our friend Mr Al Baker dropping in soon.

  4. EK does very well on cargo between Auckland and Australia, picks up a decent amount of trans-Tasman traffic and is more expensive for them to park an A380 on ground in Australia which they need to make their connections schedule work. The direct 77L service aims to capture that segment of the market which require transit visas for Australia and who currently have to fly on other airlines, via other ports, to New Zealand.

  5. It was a real stretch from the very beginning. Btw Turkish Airlines starts IST-BOG-PTY-IST flights by 4th May, adding Colombia and Panama to its wide network. (the widest in terms of countries flown to)

  6. I’d think dxb to pty would be great if they’d partner with copa who is clearly the leading carrier in the Central American market. Costa Rica Guatemala Belize Honduras El Salvador Columbia Venezuela all just a short hop from pty.

    Guess not. Or maybe there’s equally good connections for passengers to go dxb->JFK/Mia/hou->central Amerixa. Who knows.

    Panama is awesome. Lucky you need to visit there.

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