Air New Zealand to invest more than $25 million in RNP for ATR

Air NZ take off

Air New Zealand’s new $25 million plan to fit its 68-seat ATR turboprop fleet with navigation technology is set to benefit Wellington and Christchurch passengers flying through Queenstown Airport.

The technology, known as Required Navigation Performance (RNP AR), enables specially trained pilots to fly to lower altitudes with a more precise and efficient route into the airport, saving fuel and emissions and helping reduce the impact of bad weather on services. 

Since the introduction of RNP AR technology on all jet aircraft flying in and out of Queenstown, performance and reliability has dramatically improved on weather-affected days. 

Air New Zealand Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan says introducing the advanced RNP AR capability to ATR services will greatly benefit the airline’s customers.

“This technology will enable us to provide a more consistent service for customers who travel on our ATR aircraft where weather conditions can at times prove challenging for our turboprop operations, particularly over the winter months.”

In late 2015, Air New Zealand announced that it would purchase 15 new ATR72-600 aircraft to operate its regional services, four to allow for further growth on regional routes and 11 to replace its ATR72-500 fleet, bringing its ATR fleet to 29 aircraft.

Pending certification and regulatory approval, the first advanced RNP enabled ATR aircraft is expected to enter the fleet in 2018.  Air New Zealand will then become the first ATR operator in the world to use the advanced RNP AR capability.