The world's newest model wide body passenger plane is due in Auckland tonight on a flying visit.

The Airbus A350XWB is due to land at Auckland Airport at about 7pm after a three-hour flight across the Tasman from Sydney.

It is the first new model Airbus for seven years and is on the final stages of a global "route proving" tour which has taken it to cities around the world.

The A350 will be on the ground at the airport until about 3pm tomorrow when it will fly to Santiago in Chile.


It is a rival to Boeing's Dreamliner, already flying here, and the newer model 777s.

Depending on its configuration the A350 can carry around 315 passengers.

The aircraft landing today is close to a fully fitted out plane but still has technical staff aboard monitoring its performance ahead of its certification and entry into service with Qatar Airways later this year. Like the Dreamliner it is mainly constructed of carbon composites - in the Airbus' case just over 50 per cent - for strength and weight savings. New engines and swept up wings make the plane more efficient, important for airlines whose fuel bills make over 50 per cent of costs on some sectors.

Airbus says its plane is 25 per cent more efficient than earlier comparable models.

Cathay Pacific is set to be the first airline running scheduled services of the A350 with its planes due for delivery in 2016