Kiwis who travel to the regions for a well-deserved vacation this Christmas will feel great in flight as they land in an all-new ATR72-600 turboprop aircraft.

After taking the 10-day trip from Toulouse, France, through some of the world’s most scenic destinations – Crete, Bali and the Maldives included – ZK-MZF landed at Auckland Airport yesterday afternoon ( December 15).

AirNewZealand Chief Pilot Captain David Morgan says the latest ATR72-600 is exciting news for our customers looking to escape to the regions this summer.

“We are truly delighted to welcome this latest addition to our national fleet. “

The plane, which can accommodate 68 passengers, will be used to serve regional routes and travel to New Plymouth, Tauranga and Nelson.

The new plane didn’t stay long in Auckland before departing for Christchurch, where it is preparing for service.

“It won’t be too long on the tarmac before taking off on its first flight which will likely take place on December 23, just in time to help our customers get to where they need to be this Christmas.”

December 23 is expected to be one of the busiest days on the airline’s domestic network this month, with more than 30,000 passengers booked to fly that day, and around 29,000 booked on Christmas Eve.

The aircraft is the last of the 29 fleet to arrive, the first to land in 2012. The aircraft is also the 1600th ATR ever produced, and the 29th to join the airline’s fleet, making Air New Zealand the owner of the third largest ATR72-600 fleet.

Meanwhile, the ATR fleet has grown the airline’s regional network by more than 50 percent.

ATRs are one of the most commonly used types of aircraft in the country, having carried around 33.5 million passengers on more than 636,000 flights around New Zealand.

The ATR72-600 is also the most fuel efficient regional aircraft and uses significantly less fuel than other older aircraft.

The new aircraft took off from the ATR plant in France on December 5, traveling over 22,000 km and calling in seven countries including Greece, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Maldives, Malaysia, Indonesia and the ‘Australia.

Note to editors:

  • Images of planes being painted in Toulouse.
  • Images after arriving at Auckland Airport

About Star Alliance:

The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to provide global reach, recognition and continuous service to international travelers. Its market acceptance has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Global Airline Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by Business Traveler Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Air Portugal, THAI, Turkish Airlines and United. In total, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 19,000 daily flights to more than 1,250 airports in 195 countries. Other connecting flights are offered by Star Alliance connection partner Juneyao Airlines.

© Scoop Media