Subject to a final contract being signed, manufacturer ATR Regional Aircraft values the Air New Zealand deal at more than $270 million at list...

Air New Zealand has placed a firm order for seven ATR 72-600 regional turboprops, the airline also taking options on five additional aircraft.

Subject to a final contract being signed, manufacturer ATR Regional Aircraft values the Air New Zealand deal at more than $270 million at list prices, including the optioned aircraft. Air New Zealand will receive its first 68-seat ATR72-600 in October 2012, with deliveries continuing to 2016.

Auckland-based Air New Zealand currently operates 11 ATR 72-500s through subsidiary carrier Mount Cook Airline. Its October 19 order announcement potentially doubles the size of the company’s ATR fleet, assuming Air New Zealand exercises its five options.

On October 19, 2011, Air New Zealand annoucned an order for seven ATR 72-600 regional turboprops and options on five more, potentially doubling the size of its ATR 72 fleet. Subsidiary carrier Mount Cook Airline already operates 11 ATR 72-500s

“The ATR 72-500 has been a core part of our extensive regional operations in New Zealand since 1999. It has proven to be very popular with our customers and very cost-effective to operate,” says Rob Fyfe, chief executive officer of Air New Zealand. “We now need to expand our fleet, not only to add frequencies on existing routes but to step up from smaller aircraft types.”

Adds Fyfe: “We know the ATR product well, and after careful consideration of several options, we believe this is the most cost-effective, environmentally conscious, and customer-friendly aircraft available in its market segment.”

“It is always exciting to secure a new customer for our aircraft. But it is an even greater endorsement of ATR when a major, world class airline that has been a long-term ATR customer returns to place new orders,” says Filippo Bagnato, chief executive officer of ATR. “Air New Zealand first started operating ATRs in 1994 and has operated the ATR 72-500 since 1999, and we are delighted that as a continuation of our long partnership, the airline has again selected our aircraft.”

Bagnato adds: “The ATR 72-600s chosen by Air New Zealand will be configured to seat 68 passengers, featuring our stylized new Armonia cabin interior, with improved seating and larger overhead bins. They are the ideal aircraft for Air New Zealand’s next phase of domestic growth, and as the greenest airliner of its size in the market today, the ATR 72-600 will not only offer lower operating costs than similar-sized aircraft, but also have minimal impact on New Zealand ’s environment.”

The ATR 72-600 seats 68 to 74 passengers depending on an airline’s chosen cabin configuration. It is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127M turboprop engines, each delivering 2,750 shaft horse power of maximum take-off power.

The ATR 72-600’s maximum gross take-off weight is 23,000kg (50,600lb) and its maximum payload is 7,500kg (16,500lb). Its maximum range with full passenger load is 899 nautical miles (1,665 kilometers).