Emirates has completed the first flights on its 8,833-mi (14,215-km) new route between Dubai and Auckland, New Zealand, which is believed to be the longest scheduled commercial route in the world. It picks up the baton from a Qantas route between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth, which covers 8,578 mi (13,805 km).
The maiden UAE448 flight took off from Dubai on Tuesday at 22:18 local time and landed in Auckland 10:33 local time, some 14 hours, 40 minutes later. This leg of the route is actually scheduled to take just under 16 hours, meaning the flight-time was shorter than expected.
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The first UAE449 return leg of the journey took off from Auckland at 22:20 local time and landed in Dubai at 05:46 local time. With a flight time of 16 hours, 26 minutes, this leg was also shorter than expected, with a scheduled flight time of 17 hours, 15 minutes.
The A380 used for the maiden flight was received with a traditional water canon salute after touchdown in Auckland
In celebration of the new route, both legs were operated with a double-decker Airbus A380, as opposed to the Boeing 777-200LR that will typically be used. The Boeings can carry up to 266 passengers and are designed for such ultra-long-haul flights.
Emirates is due to launch a service between Dubai and Panama that is a shorter distance that its Dubai-Auckland service, but that has a longer flight-time. All fall short of the discontinued Singapore Airlines Flight 21 service between Singapore and Newark, which covered a huge 9,534 miles (15,343 km).
The video below shows the maiden UAE448 flight landing in Auckland.