Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

New airline's cut-price fares on longest route

A Qatar Airways Boeing 777. The airline will start services from Auckland to Doha next February.
A Qatar Airways Boeing 777. The airline will start services from Auckland to Doha next February.

Qatar Airways, which will fly the world's longest flights from Auckland, is selling seats to Europe for as low as $1455.

Like other Middle Eastern carriers, Emirates and Etihad, Qatar is recognised as one of the world's top airlines for laying on luxury in near-new planes and it will start flying from Auckland to Doha from February 6.

The 14,539km flight will eclipse by about 200km the current longest in the world, Emirates' Auckland-Dubai service which started earlier this year.

Qatar has said it will use an ultra-long range Boeing 777 on the route while Emirates is about to upgrade its plane to an Airbus A380.

Qatar's $1455 promotional economy fare is return to Rome from February to September next year. Fares to Paris start at $1470 and London at $1595.

Last week Emirates president Sir Tim Clark told the Herald that there was ''theoretically'' room for the Middle Eastern rivals.

"He's got another 30 to 40 minutes extra flying so it will be more difficult but do-able,'' he said.

"Both carriers are growth animals they thrive on growth and looking for new markets and being innovative and experimental in what they do.''

He said the fierce competition meant fares "couldn't be better" for New Zealand travellers.

''The fares are already down. In this part of the world were seeing airfares that were around eight to 10 years ago - that's supply and demand.''

Watch: Why airfares are falling:

Video

Sean Berenson, Flight Centre general manager product said Qatar's entry to the market was good news for Kiwi travellers there had been a lot of interest in from customers particularly at our recent Travel Expos.

"Qatar offers great connectivity up to Europe and their service is world renowned. It means we're able to offer our customers both comfort and affordability, a win."

We've already seen movement in fares up to Europe this year due in part to increased competition and capacity up to Asia (and onward to Europe).

"With Qatar coming onto the Middle Eastern route it may be that we see similar stimulation on this route."

Berenson said business class fares less than $3500 on Cathay Pacific to Europe had been extremely popular.

"The increase in bookings and inquiry for premium cabins, particularly up to Europe, is a trend we're seeing across the board this year. Since the 'earlybird' season kicked off we've already seen more than 10 per cent growth in the number of premium cabin seats we've sold up to Europe," he said.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 08 Dec 2016 07:50:41 Processing Time: 618ms