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World's longest non-stop commercial flight announced

Emirates has announced plans to begin daily round-trip flights between its Dubai hub and Panama City
Emirates has announced plans to begin daily round-trip flights between its Dubai hub and Panama City

The Middle East's biggest airline will soon be operating the world's longest commercial flight.

Emirates has announced plans to begin daily round-trip flights between its Dubai hub and Panama City, its first destination in Central America.

It says the 17 hour, 35 minute flight when heading west will be the longest anywhere.

Australia's Qantas currently operates the world's longest flight, from Dallas to Sydney, which takes just under 17 hours.

Singapore Airlines previously operated an even longer flight connecting the city-state to Newark, in the US, but scrapped it in 2013.

Emirates is backed by the government of Dubai and has expanded rapidly by routing international transit passengers and cargo through its hub in the Gulf commercial centre.

The Panama City flights are scheduled to start on February 1.

The flight time for the Dubai-to-Panama leg will be scheduled at 17 hours, 35 minutes.

"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," Emirates CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement. 

"We're also pleased to be the only commercial airline to offer a daily, first class service to travellers on what will be the world's longest non-stop flight."