The world’s longest commercial flight landed in New Zealand with the arrival of Qatar Airways’ 14,535km Doha-Auckland service, the airline announced.
“We’ve officially landed in Auckland,” the airline tweeted as flight QR920 landed at 7.25am (1825 GMT Sunday), 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.
There were four pilots on board as well as 15 cabin crew who served 1,100 cups of tea and coffee, 2,000 cold drinks and 1,036 meals during the flight. In keeping with international tradition to welcome inaugural flights, the Auckland airport rescue service showered the plane with water cannons on arrival.
The previous record for the world’s longest scheduled flight by flying time was held by Emirates, which launched direct flights to Auckland from Dubai in March 2016.
Air India has a longer flight by distance, spanning 15,298km from Delhi to San Francisco; this takes 14 hours and 30 minutes, according to the Times of India.
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.