Air New Zealand’s first domestic A321 neo has touched down in Auckland.

The aircraft flew from Hamburg via Muscat, Kuala Lumpur and Cairns – a journey with a distance of 19,352 km.

The new aircraft is undergoing five days of ‘pre-service readiness’ in the Auckland Hangars before it commences its first flight on November 8 from Auckland to Wellington.

It is the first of two new A321 neos to join the carrier’s domestic fleet. The second will arrive later this year and feature Air New Zealand’s ‘world-first’ black Star Alliance livery.

Three more A321 neos are expected to arrive in 2023, with the final two scheduled for 2026.

The aircraft are set to predominantly fly between Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin.

The carrier’s chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty commented:

“We’re focused on growing our domestic network and this A321 neo is especially configured for domestic flying to add almost 50 additional seats per flight compared to our A320s.”

“Our customers have told us, departing on schedule and reaching their destination on time is incredibly important. With the exciting introduction of the larger A321 neo domestic aircraft, we’ll commence boarding five minutes earlier and encourage all customers to be at the gate ready to board at minimum, 15 minutes before departure, to ensure an on-time departure.”

The carrier says that it has an average fleet age of 7.3 years.