Auckland welcomed a number of dignitaries and excited international media last month, including CNN’s infamous business editor, Richard Quest, when Qatar Airways touched down in the world’s longest commercial flight. This was the first of the new service that will operate between Doha and Auckland.
Qatar’s B777-200LR arrived 15 minutes ahead of schedule to complete the 14,535-kilometre route. Flight QR920 was due to land at Auckland Airport at 7.30am on February 6, but landed ahead of schedule after 16 hours and 15 minutes in the air.
The UK’s popular Business Traveller News reported the flight had aviation enthusiasts ‘reaching for the record books’, with Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar Al Baker, who was on the flight, hailing the occasion as an important milestone for the airline as it expanded both in the region and globally.
“It is a momentous occasion for Qatar Airways and provides another accomplishment to celebrate in this our 20th year flying the flag internationally,” he told reporters.
The flight is said to have ignited a debate among plane spotters about whether “world’s longest” flight should be measured in time or distance. Air India connects cities separated by 13,300km with its Delhi to San Francisco service but flies a route of 15,110km to avoid headwinds, which gives a 14.5-hour flight time.
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