Freight giant DHL will use a bigger aircraft on its transtasman service to meet booming demand from e-commerce.
The company will use a Boeing 767-300 on the Auckland-Sydney route, replacing a Boeing 757 and able to carry an extra 24 tonnes, or 80 per cent more cargo. The logistics company is also adding to its global fleet, placing a large order with Boeing at the Farnborough International Airshow this week.
Mark Foy, country manager of DHL Express, said the main freight out of New Zealand was clothing and textiles to Australian consumers who wanted quick delivery of online orders. Deliveries were also made to Australian retailers.
''Consumers want it immediately - they want to click the buy button and for it to turn up on the doorstep within days."
Imports from Australia include farm machinery and electronics.
Research out this week shows the rise of e-commerce, with three out of five (59 per cent) of New Zealanders now shopping online at least once a month, according to Mastercard.
Foy said commercial airlines did provide some freight competition and the end of Emirates flights from Auckland across the Tasman had provided ''a little bit of opportunity'' for DHL, but planning for the new aircraft started three years ago.
The plane leaves Auckland in the early evening and is the last flight out of Sydney at night, departing at 10.50pm, just before the city's airport closes for its curfew.
Foy said rising fuel costs had hit DHL and it had increased its surcharge, which is changed monthly.
''It does put pressure on costs - it continues to go up,'' he said.
DHL has about 340,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, including 350 staff and about 100 contract drivers in New Zealand.
Australia is a key trading partner. Last year, the ExportNZ DHL Export Barometer showed that transtasman trade continued to dominate exports, with almost 80 per cent of exporters trading with Australia.
At Farnborough, DHL announced it was buying 14 new Boeing 777 freighters and had options to buy seven more as it aims to serve more markets with non-stop flights.
The company says expanding cross-border e-commerce sales will grow to $US4.48 trillion by 2021, a growth of 19.2 per cent per year.