Qatar Airways released this statement on February 6, 2017:
It was a historic moment for Qatar Airways on February 6, 2017, as it launched its new record-breaking Auckland service on one of the country’s most significant days of the year – Waitangi Day. As the first Qatar Airways flight touched down on the North Island of New Zealand, just after sunrise – a new chapter in the airline’s history began.
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 kilometers, began at the airport with a traditional water salute as the Qatar Airways Boeing 777 taxied down the runway (above).
Qatar Airways’ first flight to New Zealand flies over the city of Auckland on its final approach to the airport.
The new daily flight to Auckland is served by a Boeing 777, which has a two-class configuration with 42 seats in Business Class and 217 seats in Economy Class.
Passengers travelling on the inaugural flight were welcomed on board with special cupcakes, in addition guests travelling in Business Class received a celebratory Kiwi Rose Fizz mocktail, both created to commemorate the new service. Bespoke menu cards and beverage lists inspired by a traditional Maori carving were also designed especially for the occasion.
Auckland is the first new destination launch of the year for the airline that added 14 new destinations in 2016 and plans to launch more in 2017/18 including: Yanbu and Tabuk, Saudi Arabia; Dublin, The Republic of Ireland; Nice, France; Skopje, Macedonia; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina; Libreville, Gabon; Douala, Cameroon; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Canberra, Australia; Medan, Indonesia; and Las Vegas, U.S.