Qatar Airways has launched its new record-breaking Auckland service on one of the country’s most significant days of the year – Waitangi Day.

The first Qatar Airways flight touched down on the North Island of New Zealand, just after sunrise.

Celebrations to commemorate the launch of the world’s longest commercial flight, which takes 17 hours and 30 minutes and covers a distance of 14,535 kilometres, began at the airport with a traditional water salute as the Qatar Airways Boeing 777 taxied down the runway.

Qatar Airways group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, travelled on-board the inaugural flight from Doha to Auckland and was welcomed by Todd McClay, New Zealand minister of trade and state owned enterprises, and Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood.

Al Baker said: “The launch of our new service to Auckland is an important milestone for Qatar Airways as we expand both in the region and globally across our network providing more options and better connections to exciting business and leisure destinations in Europe and the Middle East.

“Arriving in Auckland on Waitangi Day, and achieving the title of world’s longest flight for the return record-breaking service, which covers a distance of 14,535 kilometres and lasts 17 hours and 30 minutes, […]