Air New Zealand has ordered seven new-generation ATR72-600 aircraft with purchase options for a further five worth a total list price of US$270 million.
At the same time, the national carrier has confirmed it will receive compensation from aircraft manufacturer Boeing following the delayed delivery of the Dreamliner.
Chief executive officer Rob Fyfe said earlier the agreement, which is subject to contract signing, will significantly boost air service connections to regional New Zealand.
“This order potentially doubles the size of Air New Zealand’s ATR fleet and will put a further two million seats into the New Zealand regional market annually,” he said.
“For our customers that will mean a big increase in the number of business timed seats and seriously cheap grabaseat fares we have on regional routes every day.”
The first of the 68 seat ATR72-600 aircraft will be delivered to Air New Zealand in October 2012 followed by a second in December that year, two in 2013 and another each year for three years.
The five purchase options are available for delivery between 2014 and 2016.
The new-generation ATR72-600 is the most efficient aircraft in its class and features a new cabin layout with larger overhead bins, improved seating and advanced cockpit technology including Required Navigation Performance (RNP) technology.
At a media briefing announcing the new purchase, Fyfe also confirmed Air New Zealand is set to receive compensation from Boeing following delays in the delivery of its new Dreamliner aircraft.
“We have received compensation, the package is confidential, there is a further round of compensation negotiations currently underway for the more recent delays,” he explained.
The airline confirmed it was pressing on with acquiring the lightweight and fuel-efficient 787s despite production delays which have seen its arrival delayed until 2014.