Air New Zealand's A321neo with all-black Star Alliance livery touches down in Auckland

Air New Zealand's new A321neo with registration ZK-OYB arriving into Aotearoa.
Air New Zealand's new A321neo with registration ZK-OYB arriving into Aotearoa. Photo credit: supplied

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

But this one looks different: it's the world's first black Star Alliance-branded aircraft, inverting its usual white look.

Air NZ's domestic A321neos will mainly fly on primary routes between Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin and can hold nearly 50 more passengers than the A320 aircraft on domestic flights.

The addition of the two A321neos adds 200,000 more seats per year to Air NZ's domestic network, it said.

The new aircraft arrived at Auckland International Airport during a period in which international travel to and from the location is ramping up considerably amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, Air Canada restarted its Auckland-Vancouver direct service and next week Emirates is bringing back the world's largest commercial passenger plane to restart a daily Auckland-Dubai daily service after a nearly 1000-day hiatus.

All-black Star Alliance painted Air New Zealand A321neo arrives in Auckland.
Air New Zealand's new Star Alliance livery is the first all-black version in the world. Photo credit: supplied

Star Alliance is the largest of the world's airline alliances with 26 members who cooperate in many ways, including providing inter-airline codeshare connections.

Other members with aircraft featuring Star Alliance liveries are typically white with a black tail fin.

Air NZ's new A321neo has the registration ZK-OYB and will spend the next five days in the airline's maintenance facility before taking off on its first flight on December 3, when it flies from Auckland to Queenstown.