The inaugural American Airlines Los Angeles - Auckland flight arrived in the early hours of Saturday morning as the airline looks to expand on its relationship with Qantas and take on Air New Zealand's dominance over the trans-Pacific route.
The new daily service will be operated using American Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners. The airline has invested hugely in the new aircraft, currently receiving two new Dreamliners every week.
Qantas' relationship with American Airlines will feed up to 1600 passengers a week into the New Zealand domestic JetStar network, as well as linking them to Australia via Auckland.
"Qantas and Jetstar are growing within New Zealand and on trans-Tasman routes to Australia, so there are great opportunities for US visitors to travel widely and get to know our amazing region," says Gareth Evans, CEO of Qantas International and Freight.
Passengers boarding the first flight to Los Angeles yesterday evening were treated to an all-American experience. There were hotdogs, cheerleaders and red, white and blue napkins, balloons and cupcakes and even a bit of champagne.
The weather wasn't onboard with the Californian inspired theme of the afternoon, however. Heavy rain bucketed down as airline executives and Government representative Judith Collins inspected the aircraft on the tarmac.
American Airlines will be joined by United Airlines next weekend, as demand for North American flights continues to grow.