The world’s longest commercial non-stop flight touched down in Auckland amid the spray of a water cannon salute this week.
After 16 hours and 23 minutes in the air, the Qatar Airways flight from Doha arrived at 7.25am on Monday – Waitangi Day, which marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The Doha-Auckland route covers a distance of 14,535 kilometres, beating out rival Emirates’ Dubai-Auckland route, which is some 300 kilometres shorter. Because of headwinds, the return trip takes about 17 hours and 30 minutes.
Along the way, the Boeing 777 aircraft crosses 10 time zones.
The inaugural flight kicked off Qatar Airways’ 20th anniversary celebrations and marked the start of daily flights to Auckland.
Passengers received special cupcakes, and Business class passengers had the bonus of a Kiwi Rose Fizz mocktail. Bespoke menu cards and beverage lists inspired by a traditional Maori carving also marked the occasion.
The aircraft has 42 seats in Business Class, which convert to fully-flat beds, and 217 seats in Economy. All classes have access to the Oryx One entertainment system, boasting more than 3,000 entertainment options.
Qatar Airways says the new route will provide 189,000 seats and 6,000 tonnes of cargo capacity each year.
The route comes on the back of new routes to Sydney and Adelaide in 2016, and the airline plans to add Canberra in 2017/18.
Note: Air India’s Delhi-San Francisco flight is a 15,300-kilometre route, but Doha and Auckland are actually further apart on the globe.
* Featured image: The Qatar Airways Boeing 777 makes its descent over Auckland. Picture: Qatar Airways