AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Oct. 28 -- The first commercial Boeing 787 dreamliner to fly to New Zealand landed at Auckland International Airport on Monday afternoon.
The China Southern plane will now fly daily from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou to Auckland.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner replaces the A330 currently used on the daily Guangzhou to Auckland route, and increases China Southern Airlines' seat capacity by almost 5 percent per year.
China Southern Airlines will fly a second Dreamliner aircraft to Auckland for the peak summer period from Dec. 4 to March 1, meaning the number of weekly flights on the Guangzhou-Auckland route will soon increase from seven to 10.
Glenn Wedlock, Auckland Airport's general manager aeronautical commercial, said on Monday that China Southern's decision to use its Dreamliner on the Auckland route, coupled with the increase in weekly flights, heralds strong Chinese passenger arrival growth with significant benefits for the New Zealand tourism industry.
"The daily arrival of this new aircraft also provides a snapshot of what we will see from Chinese air travel in the future, in particular, the importance of our relationship with the Guangdong region as an Asian hub for New Zealand aviation," he said.
New Zealand Associate Tourism Minister Chris Tremain said China was New Zealand's second largest tourism market.
"Forecasts show that arrivals from China are expected to more than double over the next five years to 450,000."
In the last 12 months to September 2013, over 236,000 Chinese visited New Zealand.
Monday's arrival of the China Southern Airlines Dreamliner at Auckland Airport follows the announcement in July this year that New Zealanders can transit Guangzhou for 72 hours without an entry visa.