American Airlines' decision to dramatically step up flying to New Zealand is a sign of the great US travel boom.
The airline will next summer more than triple capacity to this country where arrivals from the United States have climbed 9 per cent in the past year to 368,000.
This exceeds the 6 per cent climb to 93 million Americans travelling outside the United States last year.
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A buoyant economy, better air connections and importantly, much improved services from that country's airlines resulted in 93 million Americans travelling abroad last year, according to US Commerce Department figures.
And the travel-happy super-rich are growing in number in the US like nowhere else on the planet. The Economist says there are close to 19 million ''dollar'' millionaires, up from seven million 20 years ago.
The surge in American visitors to this country is great news for the tourist operators as they stay longer, spend more and more likely to travel off the beaten track.
And it's also fantastic news for Kiwis wanting to travel to the States.
More air capacity means more competition and almost inevitably, lower fares. A weaker kiwi dollar against the greenback has stunted travel to the US in the year to August — down 1.4 per cent to 209,000 but it's still running at high levels.
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American's new services between Auckland and Dallas Fort Worth and the long-awaited Christchurch to Los Angeles flight will provide Kiwis with vast options of destinations to fly to even if their dollar doesn't go as far as it did 18 months ago.
By next summer New Zealanders will have the choice of six mainland US cities flying non-stop from Auckland and one from Christchurch.
''More routes mean more competitive pricing, making the US even more accessible for leisure and business,'' says Flight Centre NZ managing director David Coombes.
And he reckons AT&T Stadium could be a popular destination for Kiwis.
''Dallas is the travel hub of the States, and it's a dream for football fanatics; home to the world-famous Dallas Cowboys.''
But for American Airlines it's a southbound play.
Russ Fortson, American's managing director of Asia Pacific operations, says right now the country is hot.
He says (in spite of a certain result at the weekend) the All Blacks are tremendously popular in the US.
''Then take your pick. It's the Lord of the Rings - now there's a massive attraction. For many it's an aspirational, a once in a lifetime trip.''
Older, richer people came here to get on board the growing number of cruise ships, said Fortson, in Auckland for the well telegraphed announcement of American's expansion.
''It would attract a similar sort of person that would otherwise go to Alaska - pure and pristine.''
American's new flights will launch new services from Auckland to Dallas-Fort Worth and break new ground with flights between Christchurch and Los Angeles.
Flights by the airline, one of the world's largest, is a big play and will boost competition in non-stop flying across the Pacific as other airlines are also flying to new destinations and boosting capacity.
American will launch the three-times a week seasonal services from next October.
The airline has operated Dreamliner flights from Auckland to Los Angeles since 2016 and the Dallas-Fort Worth flights will be in addition to those summer services (also three times a week) and pit the airline up against Air New Zealand which has since 2015 flown to Texas, operating to Houston.
Dallas-Fort Worth is the fourth busiest airport in the world and is American's home hub. It offers 70 connections throughout the United States and the Americas with more than 900 flights a day.
The Christchurch-Los Angeles flights will be a big boost for the South Island city whose residents and tourist authorities have been pushing Air New Zealand to resume the route which it pulled out of about a decade ago. The new flights will be worth $52m a year to this economy.
American will fly to from October next year to March 2021 with a Boeing 787-8, slightly smaller than the -9 plane operating out of Auckland.
American's doing this not only because it sees latent demand, but its doing it because it can.
Regulatory approval of its joint venture with Qantas means it can co-ordinate flying across the Pacific and, importantly, rely on the Australian airline to feed its long haul flights across the Pacific.
Air New Zealand's response today was brief.
A spokesman said the move underlines the strength of the US-NZ market.
The airline had successfully expanded into Chicago and now has its sights set on New York, he said.
Those non-stop flights are from Auckland. Whether it swoops into Christchurch with flights to the US before American starts up will be something to watch out for.