UAE prepares for longest commercial flight

Dubai, March 2 (IANS) The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is preparing for the world’s longest commercial flight which will take off from Auckland and travel to Dubai on Wednesday.

The Emirates flight, with a duration of 15 hours 13 minutes, landed in Auckland from Dubai earlier on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.

The return flight is estimated at a duration of 17 hours and 15 minutes, but the airline said the service would cut journey duration by almost three hours each way.

It marks the start of a daily direct service between Dubai and New Zealand, which the airline said would add 125 million NZ dollars ($82.92 million) a year to the New Zealand economy.

The first service was operated with a double-decker A380, but the airline will have the Boeing 777-200LR, carrying up to 266 passengers, regularly flying the route.

“We anticipate high demand for the route, providing a further boost to inbound tourist traffic in New Zealand that exceeds three million a year,” Emirates president group services Gary Chapman said.

The service would give New Zealand exporters more capacity through Dubai, which would particularly benefit those with perishable goods for markets in the Middle East and Africa.

New Zealand Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the service increased New Zealand’s connectivity with the rest of the world.

“The United Arab Emirates is our primary entry point to the Middle East, and one of New Zealand’s top 15 trading partners. Being a trading country, we rely on effective air services to create much needed connections with the rest of the world,” Bridges said.

“Direct flights will encourage even more trade and tourism between the two countries, by offering more choice to passengers and freight customers.”

The route is expected to become the world’s second longest commercial flight when Emirates launches a service between Dubai and Panama later this month.

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