Wellington (AFP) - An Emirates Airbus A380 touched down in New Zealand on Wednesday, completing what is believed to be the world's longest non-stop scheduled commercial flight.
The service from Dubai to Auckland covered 14,200 kilometres (8,824 miles), according to industry website airwaysnews.com, pipping Qantas' 13,800-kilometre Sydney-Dallas route launched in 2014.
It said the route was also the longest in duration, with passengers set to spend 17 hours 15 minutes in the air during the return leg from Auckland to Dubai.
However, that record is expected to be short-lived because Emirates' upcoming Dubai-Panama City service will take 17 hours 35 minutes when it launches later this month.
Emirates described it as "one of the longest air routes in the world by distance".
"But with the assistance of clever technology and good planning, passengers will get to their destination in the shortest possible time," it said.
"Emirates will be using flexible routes, which can vary by day, taking advantage of tail winds and avoiding head winds to reduce the time in the air."
The inaugural Dubai-Auckland flight was made by an A380 but the regular service will be carried out using the Boeing 777.
New Zealand Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the non-stop service, which cuts three hours off current Dubai-Auckland travel times, improved New Zealand's connectivity to the rest of the world.
"Direct flights will encourage even more trade and tourism between our two countries, by offering more choice to passengers and freight customers," he said.