Air New Zealand has taken delivery of its first ATR 72-600 aircraft, which is painted in striking all black livery, as part of the airline’s support for New Zealand’s national rugby team, the All Blacks.
The airline and ATR announced in October 2011 a contract for seven firm 68-seat ATR 72-600 aircraft, plus options for another five, in a deal worth more than US $270 million.
The delivery of this very first ATR 72-600 to Air New Zealand has been witnessed by the former All Blacks rugby player Luke McAllister.
Deliveries of the seven firm ATR 72-600s are due to be completed in 2016.
This first ATR 72-600, configured with 68 seats, is scheduled to enter service early in November, with a first flight between Christchurch and Wellington.
The new aircraft features the brand new Armonia cabin interior, with improved seating and larger overhead luggage bins.
Air New Zealand currently has a fleet of eleven ATR 72-500 aircraft in service with its subsidiary Mount Cook.
The arrival of the new fleet of ATR 72-600s will grow Mount Cook’s ATR fleet and will enable the airline to further expand its domestic operations with new destinations and frequencies. The airline will also optimize seat capacity offering on selected markets, by replacing smaller aircraft types on its regional network.
Air New Zealand has been operating ATR aircraft for nearly 20 years since the introduction of its first ATR -an ATR 72-200- in 1994.
Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe said the ATR 72-600 was a significant milestone in the airline’s ongoing commitment to growing its key domestic business.
“The ATR 72-600 order potentially doubles the size of Air New Zealand’s ATR fleet and will put two million additional regional seats into the market,” said Fyfe.
Air New Zealand is considered Australasia’s Leading Airline by the World Travel Awards.