Trade Minister Todd McClay today welcomed the inaugural daily flight of Qatar Airways direct Auckland – Doha service at Auckland International Airport saying the world's longest flight was set to boost New Zealand trade and tourism.
“Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the air link will continue to gain importance when New Zealand concludes a Free Trade Agreement with the GCC,” Mr McClay says.
The new service is the world’s longest commercial flight, taking 17 hours and 30 minutes and covering a distance of 14,535 kilometres.
“The new Auckland – Doha service will not only provide more options and connections for business and leisure travellers, but will also provide an additional 116 tonnes of freight capacity every week. This increased freight capacity will support New Zealand exporters getting their fresh product to the Middle East and beyond,” Mr McClay says.
Qatar is a significant trading partner of New Zealand, with annual two-way trade exceeding $330 million.
“As a trading nation, New Zealand relies on effective air services to create much needed connections with the rest of the world. The estimated economic impact of this new service will be well in excess of $50 million,” Mr McClay says.
Qatar Airways has an extensive global network of more than 150 destinations. The new service from Auckland improves access to cities in Europe, Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East.