Air New Zealand celebrates arrival of its first domestic Airbus A321neo

Air New Zealand's first Airbus A321neo for domestic routes.
Air New Zealand's first Airbus A321neo for domestic routes. Photo credit: supplied

The first of Air New Zealand's domestic-configurated Airbus A321neo aircraft touched down in Auckland late on Wednesday evening, the airline has announced.

It's the first of the aircraft joining the airline's fleet this year, with another five set to be introduced over the next few years.

The new plane arrived in the same week as Virgin Australia and Air Asia X returned to the Aotearoa market as the air travel industry's recovery from COVID-19 ramps up.

Air NZ's domestic A321neos will mainly fly on primary routes between Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin.

They can hold nearly 50 more passengers than the A320 aircraft on domestic flights, the airline said.

According to Simple Flying, Air NZ's domestic-configurated A321neos have 217 seats, which is three more than those configured for international flights. 

The new Airbus aircraft travelled 19,352km to Auckland from Hamburg via Muscat, Kuala Lumpur and Cairns.

In just a few weeks, an Airbus A380 - the world's largest passenger airliner - returns to New Zealand as Emirates restarts its direct Auckland-Dubai route

Air NZ's new aircraft is undergoing five days of pre-service readiness in Auckland before it commences its first flight on November 8, when it will fly Auckland to Wellington.