Emirates today raised the total number of seats it flies in and out of New Zealand.

From today (January 2), the airline has replaced the previous Airbus A340-500 operation with the latest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on its Auckland service through Brisbane to Dubai and beyond, adding 672 seats a week in each direction.

It is the airline's second capacity expansion on New Zealand routes within a year following the same aircraft change on its daily Auckland-Melbourne-Dubai service last July. Its third daily Auckland service, via Sydney, is operated by the 489-seat double-decker Airbus A380 superjumbo.

"The change to the Boeing 777-300ER on the Brisbane route is a timely boost to our capacity with the Rugby World Cup coming later in the year," said Emirates New Zealand manager Chris Lethbridge.

"With a network of more than 100 destinations, including 25 centres in Europe alone, we are in a good position to bring in rugby followers from all around the world. This latest boost in seat numbers will help us do that.

Emirates will now be flying 10,857 seats in each direction per week across its four daily New Zealand services, including the daily Christchurch service. In 2009-10, Emirates carried approximately 9.95 per cent of total transTasman passengers.

- NZPA