United has returned to New Zealand for the first time in more than a decade with the arrival of flight UA917 at Auckland Airport on Sunday morning.
The San Francisco-Auckland service, operated by Boeing 787-8 N27908, landed in Auckland just before 0645 local time after a 12 and a half hour journey from Northern California.
The aircraft was on the ground for about seven hours before taking off as the reciprocal UA916 back to San Francisco at about 1400.
The airline has said previously the new service would initially operate three times a week with Boeing 787-8s before increasing to daily from October, with the larger 787-9 Dreamliner.
It is the second new service to arrive at Auckland Airport in a week, following American Airlines’ inaugural Los Angeles-Auckland flight on Saturday, June 25.
United, which is flying to Auckland in partnership with fellow Star Alliance member Air New Zealand as part of a joint-venture revenue-sharing agreement, last served New Zealand in March 2003.
“Our customers wanted new ways to access New Zealand and destinations beyond and our relationship with Air New Zealand allows customers to plan seamless travel throughout the South Pacific,” United vice chairman and chief revenue officer Jim Compton said in a statement.
On this side of the Tasman, United flies from Sydney to Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as from Melbourne to Los Angeles. All its Australian services were flown with Boeing 787 equipment.