Guests formed a welcoming party at Whanganui Airport on Friday night as Air Chathams introduced their new ATR 72 aircraft.

The 68-seater plane arrived in Whanganui at approximately 7.20pm and was blessed moments later by John Maihi.

After a one week delay, Air Chathams' new ATR 72 aircraft arrives at Whanganui Airport. Photo / Bevan Conley
After a one week delay, Air Chathams' new ATR 72 aircraft arrives at Whanganui Airport. Photo / Bevan Conley

Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall then spoke, followed by Air Chathams airline and charter general manager Duane Emeny and Whanganui & Partners chief executive Mark Ward.

The arrival of the aircraft was delayed by a week due to an administrative delay relating to it's maintenance programme, but it is now in operation.

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It was brought in due to growing demand for flights in and out of Whanganui and it will service the route on weekends for three months over winter.

The ATR 72 is a twin-engine turboprop with six-bladed propellers. It was developed and produced in France and Italy.

The 68-seater aircraft has been brought in due to growing demand for flights in and out of Whanganui. Photo / Bevan Conley
The 68-seater aircraft has been brought in due to growing demand for flights in and out of Whanganui. Photo / Bevan Conley