Emirates super jumbo A380 returns to Auckland to restart daily Dubai service after 983 day break

A packed Emirates A380 landed at Auckland International Airport on Friday for the first time in nearly 1000 days.

The largest passenger plane model in the world restarting daily services in and out of Aotearoa is being heralded as a milestone in the recovery of the travel industry from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emirates flight EK448 touched down at 11:38am with 495 people onboard after departing Dubai around 15-and-a-half hours earlier.

The Auckland-Dubai flight is set to depart at 9:15pm daily, arriving in Dubai at 5.25am the next day.

Chris Lethbridge, Emirates Regional Manager NZ, told Newshub the A380 landing in Auckland was "a beautiful sight".

"I think it sends a really strong message that things are returning to normal and we can now start resetting from where we were pre-COVID-19 and start focussing on the future," he said.

"It's an exciting day for us and it's great for New Zealand, to be able to deliver the tourists that we desperately need back into the country."

The Auckland-Dubai non-stop service is one of several international routes to be restarted in recent weeks by international airlines.

However, Lethbridge said there is still limited supply and people should plan and book travel early to avoid disappointment.

Auckland Airport said it expects passenger numbers over the coming summer to be at about 70 percent of what they were in summer 2019.