Pushing the Boeing 747-8I to it’s limits: Lufthansa is flying to New Zealand. Nonstop!

End of last week the German government asked Lufthansa to fly to
Christchurch and Auckland to bring stranded Germans back home.
Our Flight department is now evaluating every aspect of these flights.
Decisions have been made already regarding the aircraft type:

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2 Boeing 747-8I have been chosen, and it is planned to fly nonstop to New Zealand, on the way back there will be one fuel stop. Distances:

Frankfurt - Christchurch : 18597 Kilometer/ 11,556 miles/ 10,042 nautical miles
Frankfurt - Auckland : 18192 Kilometer/ 11,304 miles/ 9823 nautical miles

Flight time to NZ will be approx. 22 hours.
Flights will take off, if approved, by the end of this week. 2 complete crews, 6 cockpit crew (looks like this will be 6 captains), 34 cabin crew, engineers from Lufthansa Technik, 1 LD3 container full of spare parts, 1 Main Landing Gear tire , 1 Nose Landing Gear tire (the 747-400 has the same tires on the nose landing gear and main landing gear, the 747-8 has different part numbers) and an Aircraft AOG kit including engine change equipment will be on board.
On the way back you can add 362 passengers for each aircraft.

These flights are part of the “flight schedule for returnees”. More information below:

This topic is more about the longest distance a 747-8 has ever flown, not about the virus. If it is at a wrong place or not allowed then please just move it or close it.


22 hours 😱🤯 Crazy! The 747-8 surely has to be the aircraft with the longest range then!



God bless those people having to sit through 22 hours all the way home.


Do you know where the fuel stop on the return leg will be?

Now that’ll be a sight to see


This is just amazing. Thanks for sharing these insights into what goes on behind the scenes. Incredible to see the enormous efforts needed to get people back home.

Huge thanks to everyone involved!


Wow that’s amazing. Fair play to Lufthansa for considering these flights

@Lufthansa061 are you in the running to be one of the pilots?

Wow. Now that’s a flight I’d love to be on. Crazy stuff.

My sister flew back from Auckland to Zurich on Friday via Singapore with Singapore Airlines. Just in time, as Singapore seems to be closing its airport for transit passengers as well. Never thought that this is a flight that’s possible to do non-stop. Of course, with an empty plane this seems more likely now. Flabbergasting.

Keep us posted if you have more information!


This actually seems incredible! Thanks for this well written explanatory post!

22 Hours… That be a big challenge with no stops surely?

A good present to the New Zealand Aviation Fanatics and Photographers during this dull time!

So there are 2 other flights that have been even longer:

June 16,1993
An Airbus A340-200 owned by Airbus Industries takes off from the Paris Air Show. Destination: Auckland, NZ.
Distance: 19,277 kilometres (10,409 Nautical Miles, 11,978 miles)
The A340 touched down after a flight time of 21 hours and 32 minutes, stayed 5 hours on ground and flew directly back to Paris where it landed after 21 hours and 46 minutes.

November 9, 2005

c The Boeing Company
A Boeing 777-200LR, with Pilot In Command
Suzanna Darcy-Henneman, chief test pilot of the B777 program, lifted off from Hong Kong Intl and made it’s way to London, flying over the Pacific, America and the Atlantic, where it touched down after 22 hours and 22minutes. The Boeing 777 flew a distance of 12,455 miles or 20,044 kilometres (10,823 nautical miles)


Actually it looks like the Cockpit Crew will be 6 Captains :) Of course the Fleet Chief Captain, the Safety Pilot of Lufthansa, the Head of the 747 Department, the Chief Training Captain 747 plus 2 747 Check Captains…

… everybody already wonders what will happen if one says: “I have control” …
“No no,I have control! “ “Oh noo, I have control! “ “ No No No, IF one has control then I have control”

… to be continued :)


This is super cool! Can you keep giving us updates on when the flight will take place?

the battle of control

If you get chosen, good luck…

Okay this is so cool, but 22 hours?! now that is the longest flight in the world!

I am not (yet) a Captain, the training for me is planned for September 2020. Then i have no longer the chance to say “No”.

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Let’s go they didn’t choose an A350. Good call going with the trusty, well-proven-over-a-time-of-50yrs 747.

While the reason for these flights definitely is not great (evacuation of citizens is good but had the virus never existed they wouldn’t need evacuation) it will still be impressive to see the trusty bird go out with a bang.

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Would it not be best to get someone there who is comfortable sitting in the right seat? I guess that’s a lot less of an issue in a Boeing than an Airbus. But still I feel like flipping seats would at best throw you off a bit…


I am completely lost by your question. What you’re saying sounds interesting but I don’t know what you said.