Air Tahiti Nui plane accidentally breaks flight record due to coronavirus

This aviation record flew beneath the radar.

On Saturday, Air Tahiti Nui set a record for the longest ever scheduled passenger flight – 15,715km from Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, to Paris.

Flight TN064 usually stops over in Los Angeles, but thanks to US travel restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, it flew straight from Tahiti to France, the New York Post reported.

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Even though it was a one-off occurrence due to COVID-19, it was still a planned journey, and therefore broke the distance record previously held by Singapore Airlines’ 15,343km flight between Singapore and Newark, New Jersey.

The journey took just under 16 hours, well under the record time of 18 hours and 45 minutes still held by the Singapore-Newark flight.

Flight TN064 departed Papeete at 3am local time on March 14 and arrived at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport at 6.30am local time on March 15.

The Boeing 787-9, a twin-engine Dreamliner, was staffed by four pilots and a “reinforced crew”.

The cabin was reportedly not full, which allowed the plane to travel for such a long way without refuelling.

Air Tahiti Nui told CNN Travel that it was an “exceptional flight, operated in a special context”.

In September, Qantas tested out a non-stop flight between Sydney and London that stretched a mind-boggling 17,799km and lasted 19 hours and 19 minutes. But because the Qantas plane’s trial run, also on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, included no fare-paying passengers, it didn’t count towards any aviation records.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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