In the same month as it celebrated its 40 year anniversary, ATR has reached another impressive milestone in its history, delivering its 1,600th aircraft to national flag carrier, Air New Zealand. This delivery highlights the enduring strength of the ATR programme, providing essential connectivity to communities all over the world. It also proves the value of the ATR 72-600 at serving domestic routes in New Zealand as it is the last of 29 aircraft ordered.
While ties between the two companies initially began some 25 years ago with the delivery of first generation ATRs, this last decade has seen the forging of closer ties, with the delivery of the 29 -600 aircraft and through an important collaboration that enhanced the aircraft’s approach capabilities. The introduction of the RNP AR 0.3/0.3 feature, part of ATR’s latest Standard 3 avionics suite, helped the airline and its pilots with the accuracy of the approach into Queenstown airport and providing reliable connectivity to the local community, who benefit greatly from ski tourism in the mountainous region. Sustainability is also a key concern for both airline and manufacturer, with Air New Zealand having chosen the ATR 72-600 for its fleet as it burns 40% less fuel and emits 40% less CO2 than a similarly sized regional jet. This shared commitment to further enhancing eco-efficiency led to an agreement to work together to explore the future of the regional aviation ecosystem, including hybrid aircraft in 2018.
“The airline is looking forward to welcoming ATR’s 1600th aircraft into its fleet, 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 Air New Zealand’s Chief Executive
“We are of course proud of this achievement and I recognise the hard work and dedication of every ATR employee, past and present, in getting us here. As we have recently celebrated 40 years of making a difference, it is the perfect moment to think about how the ATR has supported communities throughout New Zealand. Passengers really depend on our aircraft to access opportunities to do business, study or simply see their loved ones. 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, CEO of ATR