The introduction of an Airbus A380 aircraft on Emirates' daily Dubai-Brisbane-Auckland route will boost annual capacity on the service by 100,000 seats and inject an extra $100 million into New Zealand's economy, says Auckland Airport chairwoman Joan Withers.
Speaking after the superjumbo jet's maiden flight into the city from Queensland yesterday, she said the economic benefit was a "staggering figure".
"It illustrates the importance of international airlines to New Zealand and highlights why here at Auckland Airport we are so focused on growing travel markets," Withers said.
Auckland yesterday became the first airport outside of Dubai to have three Emirates A380 aircraft on the ground at the same time.
The airline has previously operated its Dubai-Brisbane-Auckland route with the smaller Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
A380s have been used on Emirates' daily Dubai-Sydney-Auckland and Dubai-Melbourne-Auckland routes since 2009 and last year respectively.
Emirates' vice-president for Australasia, Bryan Banston, said demand for the Dubai-Brisbane-Auckland route from business and leisure travellers had reached a level that warranted the use of the double-decker aircraft.
"In 2009 we had confidence that the New Zealand market would support these A380 aircraft," Banston said. "The fact that we're here in 2013 welcoming our third A380 [into Auckland] demonstrates how well placed that confidence was."
Emirates, which reported revenue of US$21.1 billion ($25.7 billion) in its last financial year, is the world's largest operator of the A380, with 37 of the aircraft in its fleet and more than 50 on order from Airbus.
The airline is continuing to operate its daily service into Christchurch with the Boeing 777-300ER.