Qatar Airways’ flight QR920 is officially the world’s longest commercial flight having landed in New Zealand’s largest and busiest airport after travelling 14,535 kilometres (9,032 miles) on the Doha-Auckland route.
The airline took the liberty to update their Twitter followers upon landing, saying, “We’ve officially landed in New Zealand, the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud.’ Kia ora!” This was echoed by Auckland Airport’s official Twitter account with a warm greeting upon the flight’s arrival.
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) February 5, 2017
— Auckland Airport (@AKL_Airport) February 5, 2017
The plane, a long-range Boeing 777-200LR that crossed a whopping total of 10 time zones on its marathon flight, landed 5 minutes ahead of schedule after lasting 16 hours and 23 minutes. Qatar Airways quipped that the flight was longer than the entire “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies which were filmed in New Zealand.
As for the crew on board, the QR920 passengers were attended to by 15 cabin crew who served 1,100 cups of tea and coffee, 2,000 cold drinks, and 1,036 meals during the flight while 4 pilots were at the helm.
In keeping with international tradition to welcome inaugural flights, the Auckland airport rescue service showered the plane with water cannons on arrival.
Real-time air traffic Twitter account Flightradar24 later tweeted that the next Qatar Airways flight on the Doha-Auckland route was preparing to depart from Auckland Airport, adding, “Scheduled at 17.5 hours, the current longest flight in the world.”
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) February 6, 2017
Last year, Emirates launched what was then thought to be the world’s longest non-stop scheduled commercial flight between Dubai and New Zealand, spanning 14,200 kilometres (8,824 miles). The flight, Emirates 449, left Dubai and touched down in Auckland on 3rd March 2016 after traversing 14,200 kilometres.