Emirates will be launching the world’s longest nonstop flight from Dubai to Panama City lasting a total of 17 hours and 35 minutes in the westbound direction. To be able to cover such a distance, the airline will use the longest range jet, a Boeing 777-200LR.
This new route will start next year on 1st February 2016, operating as a daily service covering a vast distance of 13,800 kilometers between the two cities. Not only will Emirates soon hold the title of having the longest flight in the world, the airline will also be the only carrier to offer First Class on this particular route.
Considering the length of time, crossing a total of 9 time zones, passengers may want to consider shunning those cramped Economy seats for the First Class cabin, which features 8 suites in a 1-2-1 configuration, or the Business Class cabin, which features 42 lie flat seats in a 2-3-2 configuration.
Emirates is expecting to take some of the premium traffic from KLM and United, which currently link Dubai and Panama with connecting flights. Since fuel and personnel costs are high on these very long routes, airlines have to be sure they will attract business customers who can afford premium fares.
Currently the longest nonstop flight is operated by Qantas between Sydney and Dallas. It covers 8,580-miles taking 17 hours, but next year Emirates will surpass this by 35 minutes. Singapore Airlines did operate an even longer route from New York to Singapore, but it was scrapped in 2013 because of an increase in fuel prices.
The Boeing 777-200LR can carry 256 passengers and up to 15 tonnes of cargo, so it will be used to transport goods such as pharmaceuticals, machine products and electronics.
In a statement for Emirates His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group, said: “Panama City will be our first destination gateway in Central America, providing a convenient option for our passengers traveling from or through our global hub in Dubai and onward to destinations throughout Central America, the Caribbean and the northern part of South America,” according to the airline statement.
Emirates flight EK251 will depart Dubai at 8:05 a.m. and arrive in Panama City at 4:40 p.m. daily. The return flight, EK252, will leave Panama City at 10:10 p.m., arriving in Dubai at 11:55 p.m. the next day.
Later this year, Emirates will continue to expand by adding 4 additional routes to its global network including Mashhad, Iran and Orlando in September; Bamako, Mali in October; and Bologna in November.