Longest commercial flight lands in New Zealand
Auckland, Feb 6 (IANS) A Qatar Airways commercial flight, deemed the world’s longest, landed in New Zealand here on Monday after leaving Doha just over 16 hours ago, the media reported.
The flight eclipses what is now the longest duration flight, Emirates’ Dubai to Auckland service, by up to an hour. The Doha-Auckland service is 342 km longer than that of its Gulf rival, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Flight QR 920 took off from Doha’s Hamad Airport at 3.04 p.m., on Sunday, according to the airline.
The plane crossed 10 time zones on its flight.
The airline is using a long-range Boeing 777 which has 217 economy and 42 business class seats.
Its flight track took it over Dubai, then over the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka to the south of Indonesia and then through Australia before heading to Auckland.
The return flight – which leaves Auckland Airport at 2.40 p.m., on Tuesday can take up to an hour longer due to prevailing headwinds.
The plane operating is eight years old and the round trip flight between Doha and Auckland will cover 29,066 km.
There are four pilots aboard and 15 cabin crew who will serve 1,100 cups of tea and coffee, 2,000 cold drinks and 1,036 meals.
Air India’s Delhi-San Francisco flight is the world’s longest by distance but, according to the “Great Circle” route, Doha and Auckland are further apart on the surface of the Earth. Tailwinds mean Air India’s flight time is less than 17 hours.
Auckland Airport has estimated the daily Qatar services will pump close to $200 million into the economy, the New Zealand Herald said.
The airline’s outspoken chief executive Akbar Al Baker will be in Auckland for the launch of the service and host a gala dinner for the travel industry on Tuesday night.