Emirates airlines has announced that it will launch in February 1, 2016 what will be the world’s longest non-stop flight, between Dubai and Panama City, Panama.

Panama City will be Emirates’ first gateway city in Central America.

The westbound leg of the journey will take 17 hour 35 minutes. The new daily service on Emirates flight EK251 will take-off from Dubai at 08:05 and land in Panama City at 16:40. The return flight EK252 will leave Panama City at 22:10, and arrive in Dubai at 22:55 the following day.

“Panama City will be our first destination gateway in Central America, providing a convenient option for our passengers traveling from or through our global hub in Dubai and onward to destinations throughout Central America, the Caribbean and the northern part of South America,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group. “We’re also pleased to be the only commercial airline to offer a daily, First Class service to travelers on what will be the world’s longest non-stop flight.”

Emirates will operate the flight on a Boeing 777-200LR, offering three classes of service, with seating for 8 passengers in First, 42 in Business, and 216 in Economy.

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

Beyond bringing tourists and investors to Panama, the new Emirates flight will also serve an extended trade route. The 777-200LR aircraft can carry 15 tonnes of cargo (16.53 tons), Emirates states.

“This new direct flight between Dubai and Panama City will connect Latin America with the Middle East, Asia and Africa,” explained Eduardo Fonseca Ward, Consul General of the Republic of Panama, in Dubai. “This link will generate a broader global network with countless commercial and cultural opportunities for the two regions. It has been a pleasure to work with the Emirates team, who have shared the vision of Panama and Dubai as hubs of trade, prosperity and hope.”

Qantas holds the current record for the world’s longest flight, 17 hours, operating between Sydney and Dallas. A previous record holder, Singapore Airlines, has been studying the relaunch of its longest flights with non-stop service to U.S. cities, including its previously abandoned Newark service, which was a 19-hour flight.

Photo Credit: An Emirates Boeing 777 in Perth, Australia. Darren Koch / Wikimedia Commons