Qatar Airways has delayed the launch of its daily Doha-Auckland service to February 2017, it was revealed on Tuesday.
The route – considered to be the longest direct commercial flight in the world at more than 18 hours – was scheduled to begin on December 3, 2016.
However, the airline has now blocked all reservations until January 31, 2017. The route will be operated by a Boeing 777-200 aircraft.
Currently, the world’s longest direct flight at 17 hours and 15 minutes is being operated by Emirates from Dubai to Auckland. The service, also operated by a Boeing 777, was started in March.
The delay in Qatar Airways’ launch to Auckland comes after the carrier reduced its frequency of flights on around 15 routes between June and October 2016 due to a shortage of aircraft.
A Qatar Airways spokesperson said the flight cancellations were linked to delays in aircraft deliveries from European manufacturer Airbus.
“We are making selective flight cancellations in several markets … due to a delay in Airbus aircraft deliveries,” the spokesperson told Reuters.
“We are minimising the impact on our passengers as much as possible, and accommodating them on other flights that suit their travel needs. The flight cancellations are taking the form of one flight per week in most of the affected markets through the summer.”