One of the world’s fastest-growing airlines with a reputation for laying on the luxury and making a lot of noise will touch down next month in Auckland.
Qatar Airways will operate what will be the longest duration flight in the world from Doha to Auckland, landing early on Waitangi Day.
In the lead-up to the launch its cut-price fares to Europe have already sent ripples through the travel market and state-owned Qatar is going head to head with a giant: Emirates which flies directly to Dubai in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates.
Qatar has offered some return fares for just more than $1200 and from a five-star airline those are regarded as a game-changer, forcing other carriers to put more low fares into the market for longer.
Emirates last week announced a sale in which some return flights to Europe were priced at $1499 and fares to the United Kingdom were offered at $1599.
Qatar Airways, just 20 years old, now has a fleet of more than 190 planes and serves 150 destinations. It added 14 new ones in the past year and says Auckland has been on the radar for some time.
It also turns up the volume with no-expense spared launch parties. Qatar reportedly paid Kylie Minogue between A$500,000 ($527,423) and A$1 million to rattle through seven songs in Sydney last March.
Jennifer Lopez appeared at an extravagant gala party to mark the start of flights to Atlanta from its Doha hub in May and Mariah Carey played at a star-studded event in Los Angeles in January