Air New Zealand and European regional aircraft manufacturer ATR today announced the order of 7 firm new generation ATR 72-600s, plus options for 5 additional aircraft. The deal, subject to contract signing, is at list prices valued at more than US$ 270 million, including options. The first of the 68 seat ATR72-600 aircraft will be delivered to Air New Zealand in October 2012. Deliveries will be completed in 2016.
The airline, based in Auckland, New Zealand, currently operates 11 ATR 72-500 aircraft through its subsidiary carrier, Mount Cook Airline. Today's announcement of 7 firm orders and options for a further 5 aircraft potentially doubles the company's current ATR fleet, when all the options will be exercised.
Rob Fyfe, Chief Executive Officer of Air New Zealand, said: "The ATR 72-500 has been a core part of our extensive regional operations in New Zealand since 1999. It has proven to be very popular with our customers and very cost-effective to operate.
"We now need to expand our fleet, not only to add frequencies on existing routes but to step up from smaller aircraft types. We know the ATR product well, and after careful consideration of several options, we believe this is the most cost-effective, environmentally conscious, and customer-friendly aircraft available in its market segment."
Filippo Bagnato, Chief Executive Officer of ATR, said: "It is always exciting to secure a new customer for our aircraft. But it is an even greater endorsement of ATR when a major, world class airline that has been a long-term ATR customer returns to place new orders. Air New Zealand first started operating ATRs in 1994 and has operated the ATR 72-500 since 1999, and we are delighted that as a continuation of our long partnership, the airline has again selected our aircraft.
"The ATR 72-600s chosen by Air New Zealand will be configured to seat 68 passengers, featuring our stylized new Armonia cabin interior, with improved seating and larger overhead bins. They are the ideal aircraft for Air New Zealand's next phase of domestic growth, and as the greenest airliner of its size in the market today, the ATR 72-600 will not only offer lower operating costs than similar-sized aircraft, but also have minimal impact on New Zealand's environment."
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