Air New Zealand has signed an order for 15 more ATR 72-600s, in a deal regional-aircraft manufacturer ATR values at valued US$ 375 million.
The airline ordered seven ATR 72-600s in 2011. It subsequently exercised options for five more and converted purchase rights on two additional aircraft into firm orders.
When all 15 newly ordered aircraft have been delivered, by 2020, Air New Zealand will operate 29 ATR 72-600s. This will be the third-largest fleet of ATR aircraft worldwide, according to ATR.
All seven ATR 72-600s delivered to date to Air New Zealand are operated by Mount Cook Airline, one of three the New Zealand flag carrier’s three wholly owned regional-airline subsidiaries.
According to ATR, Air New Zealand’s ATR 72-600 fleet will progressively replace the ATR 72-500s the carrier now operates. New ATR 72-600s will also be used to strengthen Air New Zealand’s domestic network and service frequencies.
Mount Cook Airline also operates all 11 ATR 72-500s in Air New Zealand’s fleet, so it is likely that most if not all of the 22 ATR 72-600s still to be delivered to Air New Zealand will enter service with that Christchurch-based regional carrier.
Each of Air New Zealand’s 15 additional ATR 72-600s will be configured with 68 seats, as are all its existing ATR 72-600s and ATR 72-500s.
“We have been successfully operating ATR aircraft for more than 20 years, and we are pleased to further expand our partnership by introducing additional new generation ATRs to our fleet,” says Christopher Luxon, Air New Zealand’s chief executive officer.
“We have operated ATR ‘-600s’ since 2012 and we are very satisfied with the aircraft, both in terms of the customer experience and operational efficiency, which contributed to achieve our sustainability targets,” adds Luxon.
Air New Zealand carries more than 14 million passengers annually to, from and within New Zealand.
With an operating fleet of more than 100 aircraft, the airline and its regional subsidiaries connect customers to 22 destinations in New Zealand and 28 internationally, in Asia, Europe, Australia, North America and the Pacific Islands.