Air New Zealand's first Boeing 787-9 – indeed, the world's first of these larger and longer-range Dreamliners – made its maiden flight from Seattle to Auckland last Friday, and AusBT New Zealand contributor Nick Young was there to snap these exclusive photos of the big black bird's graceful touchdown.
Tagged as flight NZ6789, the next-gen jetliner took off from a sunny mid-summer Seattle shortly before 8am Thursday (local time) carrying executives from Air New Zealand, Boeing and engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce, along with 30 invited media including Australian Business Traveller.
Check out the view from inside the cabin as we took off from Seattle's Paine Field in this HD video clip!
After a non-stop flight lasting 13 hours and 27 minutes, the Boeing 787-9 reached a wet wintery Auckland at 4.22pm on Friday.
Air New Zealand's chief flight operations and safety officer Captain David Morgan, who was behind the stick for the landing, told Australian Business Traveller that the Boeing 787-9 flies exactly like the hyper-realistic flight simulators on which he and other AirNZ pilots have been training.
Before the Boeing 787 could proceed, it faced the traditional Haka welcome of new Zealand's Maori people.
We were surprised to see so little fanfare for the 787-9's arrival, having expected the obligatory hangar full of excited airline employees, politicians and social media teams a'tweeting.
The flight crew of NZ6789 were amazed at how good they felt after working such a long flight - testimony to the jetlag-busting effects of the Boeing 787.
Captain Morgan is interviewed by local media. "Being on the flightdeck on the delivery flight of this magnificent 787-9 aircraft to Air New Zealand has been a career highlight" he said. "Like the Boeing 747-400 in the 1980s this aircraft really is a game-changer for the airline and our customers."
The rest of the contingent disembarked via the rear stairs, which set up this amazing shot with the Boeing 787's LED lighting showing through its oversized windows.
And with that, the first of ten Boeing 787s due for the Air New Zealand fleet was wheeled away, flashing its scythe-like wing in the process.
Watch for more photo-laden stories on Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9 throughout this week on Australian Business Traveller.
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