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Air New Zealand’s ATR turboprop flights to and from Queenstown are to benefit from technology that makes navigation easier and flights more reliable.
In 2016, the airline entered into a partnership with aircraft manufacturer ATR to equip its 68-seat turboprop fleet with Required Navigation Performance (RNP) AR.
The technology allows 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.
Air New Zealand's chief operational integrity and safety officer, Captain David Morgan, said RNP is now working on the airline’s ATRs Queenstown flights.
“While all aircraft were upgraded with the necessary equipment last year, we have been working through a programme of training with our pilots, with oversight from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)," he said.
"In the past month we have reached a major milestone with this project in receiving approval from the CAA to proceed with full RNP AR operations into and out of Queenstown.
“This is fantastic news for our customers. The benefits of the technology mean that, even when the weather at Queenstown Airport is poor, disruptions to ATR passenger services are expected to be significantly reduced.”
The airline has 27 ATR 72-600 aircraft in its fleet. The airline’s larger A320 aircraft, which also operate to and from Queenstown, are already RNP AR enabled.