Air New Zealand says RNP technology makes Queenstown flights more reliable

If you're frantically checking the weather report for that upcoming winter getaway to see if your plane will make it off the tarmac, we've got good news. 

Air New Zealand has introduced new technology onto its ATR turboprop passenger flights into and out of Queenstown that it says will make the services more reliable.

The Required Navigation Performance (RNP AR) technology means bad weather conditions will have less of an impact on flights and therefore less cancellations and delays for the winter destination.

RNP AR is said to allow pilots to fly to lower altitudes with a more precise and efficient route into the airport, saving fuel and emissions.

Air NZ says the turboprop aircraft were upgraded with the RNP AR in 2019, but it's been training pilots and working with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) since then.

This month approval was granted to launch RNP AR operations on commercial flights.

The national carrier's Captain David Morgan says that's "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," says Captain Morgan.

"Queenstown is such an important part of our destination offering, particularly at the moment with COVID-19 restrictions on travel. More New Zealanders are looking to head to Queenstown.

"Bringing the new technology to life on the ATR is just the icing on the cake. It means that our customers will have a greater level of operational surety, schedule reliability and less subject to diversions."

Air NZ has 27 ATR 72-600 aircraft in its fleet. It also uses Airbus A320s on Queenstown routes but those are already RNP AR enabled.