Air New Zealand Takes Delivery Of ATR’s 1600th Aircraft

ATR delivered its 1,600th aircraft this month. The Franco-Italian turboprop powerhouse announced yesterday that Air New Zealand was the lucky milestone customer. This move occurred as the manufacturer celebrated 40 years of operations.

With several regional sites, including runways in mountain ranges, Air New Zealand benefits from the introduction of the RNP AR 0.3/0.3 feature, which helps pilots with approach accuracy. Photo: ATR

A landmark occasion

The delivery was the last of 29 ATR 72-600s ordered by the flag carrier of New Zealand. The unit holds registration ZK-MZF, and it has been making an around-the-world trip over the last few weeks.

According to RadarBox.com, the aircraft left Toulouse on December 5th before stopping at several destinations. The likes of Heraklion, Riyadh, Muscat, Malé, Subang, Denpasar, Darwin, Brisbane, and Auckland all saw the turboprop. It then performed Flight ANZ977M from Auckland to Christchurch on December 15th.

ATR 72-600 emits 40% less fuel and CO2 than jets of a similar size. Photo: ATR

A strong relationship

Air New Zealand’s Chief Executive Greg Foran shared how excited his airline is about receiving the milestone aircraft. The carrier has been holding the ATR 72-600 for nearly ten years, helping it to increase the operator’s local presence significantly.

“We really value our longstanding relationship with ATR and this will be the 29th to join our fleet since 2012. During that time the fleet of ATRs have boosted the airline’s regional network by over 50 per cent and they have proven extremely efficient. Our ATRs have helped us build one of the best domestic networks in the world and have flown an estimated 33.5 million passengers on more than 636,000 flights around New Zealand.” – Greg Foran, via company statement.

ATR CEO Stefano Bortoli added that his company is proud of the 1,600th delivery. He noted his staff’s dedication and efforts over the last 40 years and how well ATR planes support the New Zealand population in staying connected even during tough conditions.

“An aircraft needs to be efficient and versatile to thrive in New Zealand, so it makes perfect sense to build a fleet of turboprops. And while today there are many ATR’s in New Zealand, there is now also an important part of New Zealand in many ATRs, thanks to their input into the RNP AR 0.3/0.3 approach technology. Meaning that operators all over the world can benefit from yet another innovative product evolution.” – Stefano Bortoli.

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An increasing presence

ATR has been making notable strides in recent months, especially at the Dubai Airshow, where it saw plenty of attention. The ATR 42-600 and ATR 72-600 have seen new orders from all across the globe. This year, the likes of Sky Express, Tarom, Binter Canaries, Air Corsica, Afrijet, and Japan Air Commuter placed orders for the company’s aircraft.

Regional planes will continue to remain an integral part of Air New Zealand’s strategy in the long term. The carrier has eyes on becoming a leader in electric aircraft in the next chapter of aviation. It seeks to have electric vehicles in its fleet by the end of the decade. With electric power currently being slated to handle short-haul travel while other solutions such as sustainable aviation fuel and hydrogen set to overhaul long-haul, we can expect the operator’s regional fleet to be shaken up within the coming decades.

ATR has been working closely with partners on electric solutions in recent years. For instance, last month, ASL Aviation signed a deal with ZeroAvia for the conversion of ATR 72 freighters to hydrogen-electric power. So, we could see the relationship with Air New Zealand and ATR continue in future generations.

What are your thoughts about Air New Zealand taking delivery of the 1,600th ATR aircraft? What do you make of the airline’s operations with the type? Let us know what you think of the carrier and its services in the comment section.

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