Air Tahiti Nui has operated the world's longest flight and it's technically domestic

In the face of scheduling restrictions and with its standard stopover in Los Angeles off the cards, the airline was forced to fly directly from Tahiti to Paris

An Air Tahiti Nui Boeing 787-9 performs its flying display at the International Paris Air Show on June 17, 2019 at Le Bourget Airport, near Paris. (Photo by ERIC PIERMONT / AFP)

With the United States shutting its borders to European flights, airlines are having to get creative with their route scheduling. In some instances, it’s also earning them a spot in the record books.

In response to the restrictions, Air Tahiti Nui has operated the world’s longest flight - between France and French Polynesia. Under normal circumstances, the flight from Paris to Pape’ete, which is technically a domestic flight, would stopover in Los Angeles.

With this option off the table, flight TN64 took off from Tahiti International Airport at 02:45, local time, on Sunday, March 14, to fly non-stop to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport - covering a distance of 15,715 kilometres in 16 hours and 30 minutes.

The flight arrived in Paris at 5.59am this morning, local time. The world’s currently longest flight is Singapore Airline’s Singapore to Newark service, which is 15,343 kilometres.

The airline specified on its website that “this flight will exceptionally be operated non-stop to Paris-CDG”. In the coming days, the flight between Paris and Tahiti will be rerouted through Canada and Guadeloupe.

The journey was made possible through the use of a Boeing 787-9.


How is it a domestic flight?

Tahiti is the largest island of the 118 dispersed islands and atolls that stretch across 2,000 kilometres of the South Pacific Ocean that make up French Polynesia.

The islands are part of Polynesia, but are also an overseas collectivity of the French Republic.

French Polynesians vote in the French presidential elections and have French passports.

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