Qantas recently made headlines when it announced its decision to re-route its daily Sydney to London service via Singapore instead of Dubai.
But the concept of a stopover could soon be abandoned altogether. The Australian carrier says it wants to achieve the world’s longest non-stop flight between Sydney and London by 2022 – a journey that would cover 17,000km and take just over 20 hours.
The longest commercial flight the world has ever seen was the 15,300km flight between Singapore and Newark, which Singapore Airlines operated between June 2004 and November 2013 until rising fuel prices meant it had to be scrapped.
However, as oil prices drop and aircraft technology continues to advance, airlines are once again spreading their ultra long-haul wings – and lengthy flight times have become the norm.
Here are the world’s current longest flights by distance.
1. Auckland to Doha, Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways claimed the record for the world’s longest flight when it launched its non-stop service to New Zealand in February. The long-range Boeing 777 covers 14,535km and crosses 10 timezones during the journey, which clocks in around 17 hours and 30 minutes.
2. Auckland to Dubai, Emirates
The previous record-holder, Emirates, has been operating the direct flight to New Zealand’s largest city since March 2016. Using the Airbus A380, the flight covers 14,193km, and takes just over 17 hours.
3. Dallas to Sydney, Qantas
Australia’s national carrier launched its non-stop service to Texas in September 2014. The 13,800km journey takes 15 hours and 30 minutes in the Airbus A380. Before the A380, the airline used to be able to make the trip to the US in the Boeing 747, but had to stop in Brisbane on the way back as the 747 did not have the range to fly all the way to Sydney.
4. Johannesburg to Atlanta, Delta Air Lines
The American airline began operating its direct service to South Africa in June 2009, using the Boeing 777. The 13,581km flight clocks in at approximately 16 hours and 40 minutes.
5. San Francisco to Singapore, Singapore Airlines/United Airlines
Both Singapore Airlines and United Airlines offer non-stop flights between San Francisco and Singapore; United launched its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service in June 2016 and Singapore Airlines followed in October, using the Airbus A350. The journey spans 13,572km and takes approximately 16 hours and 30 minutes.
6. Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles, Etihad Airways
Etihad’s flight from the UAE to the US is the longest the Abu Dhabi-based airline offers, covering a distance of 13,473km in the Boeing 777. The airline has operated the flight, which takes just over 16 hours, since June 2014.
7. Dubai to Los Angeles, Emirates
The journey from Dubai to LA is only slightly shorter, at 13,414km. The airline launched the route in October 2008 using the Boeing 777, but changed to the Airbus A380 in December 2013. The flight takes just over 16 hours.
8. Jeddah to Los Angeles, Saudia
Saudi Arabia’s national carrier also makes the list with its LA offering, which it has operated since March 2014. The flight uses the Boeing 777, and covers 13,381km in just over 16 hours.
9. Doha to Los Angeles, Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways launched its direct flights to LA in January 2016, covering a distance of 13,367km and clocking in at just over 16 hours using the Boeing 777.
10. Dubai to Houston, Emirates
Emirates kicked off its non-stop route to Texas in December 2007, covering 13,115km in just under 17 hours. The airline initially used the Boeing 777, before upgrading to the Airbus A380 in 2014, before changing back to the Boeing 777 in 2016.