Air New Zealand showed its dedication to the national rugby team by painting its newest plane all black.
The A320 Airbus, painted to support the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup campaign, landed at Auckland Airport to a cheering crowd yesterday afternoon.
A silver fern motif decorates the tail and the slogan "crazy about rugby" is splashed across the side of the domestic-route aircraft.
On board was All Black captain Richie McCaw who was welcomed by a group of Air New Zealand staff performing the same haka the players do before a game.
McCaw said he was impressed by the plane and said it showed the airline's devotion to supporting the All Blacks during the World Cup.
"To see that flying around with a big silver fern will be pretty awesome. I think that most people who go to the airport or see it in the sky will understand what it represents," he said.
"It's for the new domestic route so I think people that travel on it will enjoy it.
"I'm sure everyone, whenever they book their tickets ... will be hoping to get themselves on this one."
The pilot's son, Alex Tan, waved as his father, Warren, taxied the black plane into the terminal.
"It was especially cool [seeing it land] since it's my dad flying it ... I was very proud."
He had a mini rugby ball signed by McCaw but said he was more impressed seeing his father land the plane.
The plane's touchdown yesterday marked the end of its three-day journey from the Airbus manufacturer base in Toulouse, France. It then flew through Canada, Denver, Los Angeles, Hawaii and Samoa where McCaw joined the flight.
It will begin a nationwide tour on Waitangi Day.
The aircraft is Air New Zealand's only black plane but is the first of the airline's new jet fleet of 14 Airbus A320s as it replaces its Boeing 737-300 aircraft for domestic routes.
The airline has painted planes black to support previous All Blacks World Cup campaigns.By Amelia Wade