The first trip of the world’s longest scheduled commercial flight service, between Doha and Aukland, took off eight minutes earlier than scheduled and touched down at New Zealand five minutes before time, said Qatar Airways.
“We’ve officially landed in New Zealand, the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud.’ Kia ora! #AucklandTogether,” the airline tweeted as flight QR920 landed at 6.25pm GMT, five minutes ahead of schedule after a flight lasting 16 hours and 23 minutes. The flight had left the Qatari capital at 02:02 GMT on Sunday.
The Boeing 777 flight passed through 10 time zones, five countries and travelled 14,535km before reaching Auckland.
But even that flying time may be looked on jealously by passengers on the return flight which, due to high-altitude winds, will take 17 hours and 30 minutes, according to the company website.
This will make it the world’s longest passenger service in terms of flying time, according to tracking website flightradar24.
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 has a longer flight by distance, spanning15,298km from Delhi to San Francisco, which takes 14hours and 30 minutes to complete. 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.