Airbus' technical and sales machine touched down in Auckland last night aboard the world's newest airliner.
The Airbus A350XWB is the French-based plane maker's latest entry in the "war of the widebodies" and is taking on rival Boeing's Dreamliner and 777s and landed following a flight from Sydney.
While the Airbus plane is on the final stages of a world tour to prove it is technically fit to enter service later this year, it has a high level sales force were among the 60 on board to spread the word to committed or potential customers.
Air New Zealand is a possible customer and has said it could look at the $340 million plane later this decade, but only after it has got its full order of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, the first of which will start scheduled passenger services at the weekend to Australia.
Some Air New Zealand staff will look over the plane today before it flies on to Santiago, Chile at 3pm.
Both planes boast many of the same features -- extensive use of lightweight carbon fibre materials and titanium, more comfortable cabin pressure and many variations of mood lighting throughout the cabin. The A350 that landed about 7.30pm had a sample cabin provided by Airbus, which has 742 orders for the plane.
However, the development of the Airbus started several years after the Boeing and the French company has refined several of the systems Airbus A350 marketing director Mike Bausor said the Airbus was more expensive than its nearest Boeing rival because it was a bigger plane.
• Grant Bradley travelled courtesy of Airbus