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Current as of 24/05/17 05:00AM NZST
Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Air NZ gets the keys to new plane

Air NZ's new ATR 72-600 regional aircraft. Photo / Supplied
Air NZ's new ATR 72-600 regional aircraft. Photo / Supplied

Air New Zealand has taken delivery of the first of its new ATR 72-600 regional aircraft, this one painted in the all black livery.

The airline has a contract for seven of the the French-made 68-seat ATR 72-600 aircraft, plus options for another five, in a deal worth more than $320 million.

Former All Black Luke McAllister was at Toulouse to witness the handover overnight.

Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe said the aircraft handover was a significant milestone in the airline's ongoing commitment to growing the key domestic sector.

The 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.

"We firmly believe in the importance of the domestic market and the long-term strength of the New Zealand economy."

The first ATR 72-600 aircraft will enter Air New Zealand subsidiary Mount Cook's fleet in mid-November.

Mount Cook general manager Sarah Williamson said the new ATRs will allow the airline to further expand its domestic operations with increased frequency and extra capacity as well as to service new ports.

The first aircraft will service Nelson and New Plymouth in addition to the ports where the ATR 72-500 currently flies.

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