The world's longest commercial flight, Qatar Airways' flight QR920, landed in Auckland, New Zealand after covering a massive 14,535km and spending 16 hours and 23 minutes in the air.
QR920 took off from Hamad International Airport in Doha on February 5 at 5:10am and arrived in Auckland Airport, New Zealand, on Monday morning at 7:30am, after crossing 10 time zones.
In accordance with the international tradition of welcoming inaugural flights with pomp, the Auckland Airport rescue service showered the plane with water cannons on arrival! Take a look:
"Welcoming Qatar Airways to New Zealand, through this direct service, is a significant event in the New Zealand Qatar relationship – opening up greater people to people and business to business connections between our two countries," commented Jeremy Clarke-Watson, New Zealand ambassador to the state of Qatar.
Auckland Airport has predicted that the daily Qatar services will pump close to $200 million into the economy.
So, the arrival of Qatar Airways in New Zealand definitely indicates more competition for long-haul airlines operating in and out of New Zealand.
#FunFact: Qatar Airways noted that flight was longer than the entire Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, which were filmed in New Zealand.
Air India's Delhi to San Francisco route still claims to be the longest flight (in terms of flying distance) because of its choice of route. But the longest flight is assessed by the Great Circle theory, according to which the Doha-Auckland flight wins for geographic distance.
However, by 2018, the crown for the world’s longest flight will go back to the Singapore Airlines, once it resumes its non-stop 19-hour flight from Singapore to New York.