Reckon you could survive a 17-hour flight?

Could you handle watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and then the Hobbit trilogy ... on a single flight?

That's the equivalent length of time it takes to fly from Auckland to Doha on a route launched by Qatar Airways on Monday. 

The inbound flight from Doha landed at Auckland International Airport at 7:15am on Monday morning - and thanks to a tailwind it actually came in a little shorter than that expected at 16 hours 17 minutes.

The return flight will be at the mercy of a headwind and is more likely to take closer to 18 hours. 

That length of time would leave most passengers feeling a little drained - but the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al-Baker, couldn't have been happier as he stepped off the flight in Auckland. 

The outspoken chief executive claimed victory over his aviation competitors, telling Newshub "I don't think that anybody will operate as long as this - I think we will hold this record for quite some time." 

The Auckland International Airport company estimates it will add $198 million annually to the New Zealand economy - and Mr Al-Baker promised the route would not be affected by fluctuations in fuel costs. 

"We never close a route when we launch. We are not one of the airlines that are only here for good times and bad times because we serve the people of the country we operate in," he said. 

The route launches with a 777-200LR aircraft on a daily service.  The distance is 14,535km - which is 342km longer than Emirates' Dubai to Auckland route. 

Air India's flight from Delhi to San Francisco is 15,298 kilometres but by the 'great circle' calculation - Doha and Auckland are further apart on the surface of the earth. 

Newshub.

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