Air New Zealand is boosting services to the Gold Coast using its new A321neo as a rival airline pulls off the route.

Air Asia is quitting daily flights on the Auckland-Gold Coast route next February, the same month as Air New Zealand will add a fifth weekly service and use the A321neo (new engine option) aircraft to increase the number of seats available by almost 60 per cent.

The aircraft has 214 seats – 46 more than the current international A320 fleet and Air New Zealand chief revenue officer Cam Wallace said the move to five days a week would be great for holidaymakers.

"The Gold Coast is a popular destination for Kiwi tourists and Australia is New Zealand's largest source of inbound visitors, so it's fantastic to be able to increase capacity to meet this demand."


The airline's first A321neo (new engine option) aircraft arrived in Auckland early last week after departing the Airbus facility in Hamburg.

The aircraft is the first of 13 new Airbus neo aircraft to join Air New Zealand's fleet and is expected to enter commercial service on November 23 operating flight NZ739 from Auckland to Brisbane.

A second A321neo is also expected to enter service in the coming weeks, while the majority of the remaining aircraft will follow at intervals through until late 2019, with the new fleet eventually replacing the airline's A320s that currently operate Tasman and Pacific Island services.

The aircraft are about 7m longer than A320s and have new generation Pratt&Whitney engines which are more efficient than those on the planes they will replace.

Last week Air Asia announced it would stop flying its Auckland-Gold Coast service - using a 377-seat Airbus A330 - because it had other routes it wanted to develop. It has been flying here for the past two and a half years.

The Malaysian-owned budget carrier also flew to Christchurch for about a year before pulling out of that route, citing rising fuel prices and weak demand.