On December 17, 2021, Franco-Italian turboprop manufacturer ATR announced that it had delivered its 1,600th aircraft.
The milestone aircraft, an ATR 72-600, went to Air New Zealand, the country’s national flag carrier and the world’s third-largest ATR operator, according to ATR.
The delivery was the last of 29 turboprops ordered by the airline. The first -600 was delivered to the airline’s then-subsidiary Mount Cook Airline in 2012.
Air New Zealand has operated ATR turboprops to provide domestic air links in New Zealand since the early 1990s, and introduced its first ATR 72-200 in 1994.
“We really value our longstanding relationship with ATR and this will be the 29th to join our fleet since 2012,” Air New Zealand’s chief executive, Greg Foran said in a ATR press statement. “During that time the fleet of ATRs have boosted the airline’s regional network by over 50 per cent and they have proven extremely efficient. Our ATRs have helped us build one of the best domestic networks in the world and have flown an estimated 33.5 million passengers on more than 636,000 flights around New Zealand.”
To celebrate the occasion, ATR released a video depicting a painting of Air New Zealand’s 1,600th ATR 72-600, You can watch it here: