A Virgin plane takes off from Kingsford Smith airport in Sydney
A Virgin plane takes off from Kingsford Smith airport in Sydney August 30, 2013. Reuters/Daniel Munoz

Dubai-based Emirates Airline is all set to fly world’s longest non-stop flight in February 2016, when it starts a direct service between Dubai and Panama City. For the new route, Emirates will operate Boeing 777-200LR aircraft. The flight from Dubai will take 17 hours and 35 minutes to cover the distance of 7,463 nautical miles, which is approximately 13, 821 km. At present, the longest daily service is Qantas’s Airbus A380 flying between Sydney and Dallas, covering 7,454 nm, under similar operational conditions.

In the Emirate’s service, there will be a three-class layout - 8 seats in First Class, 42 in Business Class, and 216 in Economy Class. The flight also allows 15 tonnes of cargo. The service will connect Dubai and Tocumen International Airport in Panama City.

Central America

The long flight to Panama City will be giving Emirates a foothold in Central America. Emirates Airline Chairman and CEO, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said, “Panama City will be our first destination gateway in Central America, providing a convenient option for our passengers travelling from or through our global hub in Dubai and onward to destinations throughout Central America, the Caribbean and the northern part of South America.” The chairman said Emirates is pleased to be the only commercial airline to offer a daily, first class service to travelers on the world’s longest non-stop flight.

Panama’s response

“It is gratifying to see how diplomatic efforts are generating development and prosperity for Panama,” noted Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado, Vice President of the Republic of Panama. He said new doors to the country will open with the direct connection to the Middle East, which is a strong and thriving region with great synergies to both Panama and Latin America.

The Emirates will be adding more services in 2015. They include Mashhad, Iran, and Orlando, Florida. Flights to Bamako, Mali will start in October while the service to Bologna, Italy will begin in November.

Aviation industry analysts see Panama City as a lucrative destination, given its location between North and South America, as well as the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Panama City is already blessed with great transportation and communication networks with its busiest ports in Latin America, including the Colon Free Trade Zone. The ongoing expansion of Panama Canal is also adding more to Panama’s economic growth. As the financial centre of the country, Panama City is also the hub of major industries such as international banking, commerce, and tourism.

(For feedback/comments, contact the writer at feedback@ibtimes.com.au or let us know what you think below)