Cathay Pacific’s first A350-900 flight to New Zealand arrived in Auckland last Friday, making the Hong Kong carrier the first international airline to operate the aircraft to the Australasian nation. The A350 replaces the A340-300, which was previously deployed on the route, making Auckland Cathay Pacific’s third long-haul destination to be serviced by the aircraft after Düsseldorf and London Gatwick .

Flight CX197 arrived in Auckland on Friday, following an overnight journey from Hong Kong. New Zealanders were given their first glimpse of the aircraft as it flew over the Waitemata Harbour before landing at Auckland International Airport.

“New Zealand has long been an important market for our airline, so it gives us all at Cathay Pacific great pleasure that we’ll now be serving this magnificent country with our innovative A350,” said the airline’s director of sales and marketing, Dane Cheng.

“This special aircraft takes our passenger experience to a whole new level and I believe it will be a game changer for travellers from New Zealand heading to Hong Kong and beyond.” Along with Cathay Pacific’s latest in-flight entertainment system, the A350 also offers wifi connectivity in all classes.

Cathay Pacific currently has five A350s in operation and will have taken delivery of a total of 22 by the end of 2017. Rome, Paris and Melbourne are set to be the next destinations to welcome the carrier’s A350 over the next few months, while its Vancouver, and soon-to-be-launched Tel Aviv routes will see the aircraft deployed in March.