The world’s longest commercial flight landed in New Zealand Monday with the arrival of Qatar Airways’ 14,535-kilometre Doha-Auckland service, the airline announced.
“We’ve officially landed in Auckland,” the airline tweeted as flight QR920 landed at 7.25am, five minutes ahead of schedule after a 16-hour, 23-minute flight.
The long-range Boeing 777-200LR crossed 10 time zones on its marathon flight.
Qatar Airways noted the flight was longer than the entire Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies which were filmed in New Zealand.
In keeping with international tradition to welcome inaugural flights, the Auckland airport rescue service showered the plane with water cannons on arrival.
The New Zealand trade minister Todd McClay said the estimated economic impact of the new service “will be well in excess” of NZ$50 million (Dh132.2m) with the increased freight capacity provided.
In March last year, Emirates airline launched what was then thought to be the world’s longest non-stop scheduled commercial flight, with a service from Dubai to Auckland, spanning 14,200km.
Air India’s Delhi-San Francisco flight claims the world’s longest by flying distance but when measured on the surface of the earth Doha and Auckland are further apart.
Singapore Airlines may regain the top spot when it resumes non-stop flights to New York with an ultra-long distance variant of the Airbus A350 as soon as 2018. It has said the New York service, at around 19 hours, will start in 2018.