Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Air New Zealand gets hands on new plane

The first of up to 12 new aircraft to operate on Air NZ's regional routes has been handed over to the airline in France 

 Air New Zealand has taken delivery of the first of up to 12 new Europe-built aircraft to operate on regional routes.

The ATR 72-600 was handed over in Toulouse on Tuesday, and the airline has an agreement to buy six more of the turboprops with an option for a further five at a total cost of $US270 million ($NZ330m).

The 68-seat aircraft will join Air New Zealand subsidiary Mount Cook's fleet in mid-November.

When the deal was announced last October, Air NZ said the first two aircraft were due by the end of this year with two more to come in 2013 and others delivered annually thereafter.

"The investment in these aircraft ... comes during a period when other businesses have shied away from significant investment in assets," chief executive Rob Fyfe said.

The aircraft, which the airline says is the most efficient in its class, will operate on Auckland-New Plymouth and Auckland-Nelson routes.

In March, Air NZ grounded its 11-strong fleet of ATR 72-500 aircraft for checks after cracks were found around the cockpit windows of one aircraft during routine maintenance.

Three of the aircraft, used by the airline since 1999, needed repairs.


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