DALLAS – The Auckland-based carrier Air New Zealand (NZ) has announced a new order for two ATR 72-600s and two Airbus A321neos to provide enough capacity for its extensive short-haul international and domestic network.
The deal includes the delivery of two ATR 72-600 units plus two options, which will arrive between the second half of 2024 and the beginning of 2025. This order will scale Air New Zealand to the fourth position regarding worldwide ATR operators.
Baden Smith, GM of Fleet Strategy at NZ, said, “Our ATR 72-600s are an integral part of Air New Zealand’s domestic network. Due to New Zealand’s short-range, highly connected network, the ATR aircraft are perfect for keeping Kiwis connected across the 20 ports we fly between. With the demand for air travel high…we’re thrilled to be welcoming two new ATR aircraft into our fleet from late 2024.”
The ATR 72-600s to be delivered will feature the new-generation Pratt & Whitney PW127XT engines, which have been produced to deliver a 45% reduction in CO2 emissions, crucial for one of the countries with the most amazing natural landscapes and fauna.
Meanwhile, the Airbus A321neos will be used on the airline’s Tasman and Pacific Island routes. Configured with 214 seats, the aircraft’s arrival will add over 9,000 weekly seats to its network. According to an official statement released by the airline, NZ will have ‘more capacity across the Tasman than any other airline, giving customers great choice at competitive prices.’
Regarding the Airbus airframes, NZ CEO Greg Foran said, “We also have two previously announced domestic A321neo aircraft due for delivery in the next 12 months. We’re pulling every lever we have to get more seats in the sky, as quickly and as safely as possible.”
A Perfect Airplane for an Imperfect Terrain
The country of New Zealand is one of the most intra-connected territories worldwide by aircraft. Due to the very irregular terrain, in many cases, it is more efficient to take an airplane instead of driving or using rail services.
Because of that, Air New Zealand has developed an extensive domestic route network, all of them commencing from one of its four hubs in Queenstown (ZQN), Christchurch (CHC), Wellington (WLG) and Auckland (AKL).
The number of destinations inside the country rises to up to 20 airports, all inside a small area of 100,000 square miles. The short distances, added to the harsh terrain and operations, make this ecosystem perfect for the ATR 72-600 operation, an aircraft designed exclusively to transport passengers from isolated, difficult territories to the rest of the world.
Featured image: ATR.