In the same month that it celebrated its 40th anniversary, ATR achieved another significant milestone in its history by delivering its 1,600th aircraft to Air New Zealand.
“This delivery highlights the strength of the ATR programme, providing essential connectivity to communities around the world. It also demonstrates the value of the ATR 72-600 to New Zealand’s domestic road service as it is the last of 29 aircraft ordered.
Although relations between the two companies initially began about 25 years ago with the delivery of the first generation ATR, the past decade has seen the establishment of closer relationships, with the delivery of a series of 29 to 600 aircraft and through significant collaboration improving the aircraft’s approach capabilities. The introduction of the RNP AR 0.3/0.3 function, part of ATR’s latest Standard 3 avionics suite, has helped the airline and its pilots precision approach Queenstown Airport and provide reliable connectivity to the local community, which benefits greatly from tourism in the mountainous region. Sustainability is also a major concern for both the airline and the manufacturer, with Air New Zealand choosing the ATR 72-600 for its fleet because it burns 40% less fuel and emits 40% less CO2 than a regional aircraft of the same size. This shared commitment to further improve efficiency led to an agreement to work together to explore the future of the regional aviation ecosystem, including hybrid aircraft in 2018, ATR says.
Greg Foran, CEO of Air New Zealand, says the airline looks forward to welcoming the 1,600 ATR aircraft to its fleet: “We deeply value our long-standing relationship with ATR and this will be the 29th aircraft to join our fleet since 2012. During these This time, the ATR fleet has boosted the regional airline network by more than 50% and proven highly efficient. Our ATRs have helped us build one of the best home networks in the world and have flown nearly 33.5 million passengers on more than 636,000 flights to New Zealand.”
Stefano Bortoli, CEO of ATR, said: “We are clearly proud of this achievement and appreciate the hard work and dedication of every ATR employee, past and present, for bringing us here. As we recently celebrated 40 years of making a difference, it is time to reflect on how we can support ATR for communities across New Zealand Passengers truly depend on our aircraft to access opportunities to do business, study or just see loved ones.An aircraft must be efficient and versatile to thrive in New Zealand, so it makes perfect sense to build a turboprop fleet.And although there are many of ATRs in New Zealand today, however, there is now also an important part of New Zealand in many ATRs, thanks to its contribution to the RNP AR 0.3/0.3 approach technology. This means that operators from around the world can benefit from another innovative product development.”
(ATR Press Office – Image credits: ATR)
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