|Not a member? Sign up now!|
Holidaymakers travelling between Australia and Queenstown are set to benefit from a new technology that will dramatically improve the reliability of Air New Zealand’s services into the country’s winter playground.
Air New Zealand last year introduced Required Navigation Performance (RNP) technology to six of its Boeing 737 fleet operating into and out of Queenstown, with more than 120 domestic services enabled so far by the new technology. The introduction of RNP has proven so successful that the airline is now planning to install the technology on its fleet of A320s, which operate Tasman services.
The sophisticated new procedure, which allows specially trained pilots to fly to lower altitudes with a more precise and efficient route into the airport, will also help to reduce the effects that bad weather have on services.
Air New Zealand General Manager Airline Operations Captain David Morgan says the airline is working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority to gain regulatory approval and expects the entire A320 fleet of 13 aircraft to be using RNP by the end of the year, making Air New Zealand the first Airbus operator in the world to have an entire RNP-capable Airbus Fleet.
Required Navigation Performance (RNP) represents one of the latest developments in aircraft navigation, and Captain Morgan says its introduction on the A320s will provide more reliable services for customers flying from Australia into and out of Queenstown.
Air New Zealand operates up to nine return trips a week using the A320s over the peak winter season.
“RNP has been a fantastic development for our domestic customers – without it, more than 120 flights would have been either cancelled or diverted due to inclement weather conditions. We expect the technology to deliver similar results for our Australian customers during the very busy ski season,” he says.
Air New Zealand General Manager Australia John Harrison says having RNP fitted onto the A320s will provide further incentive for Australian customers to choose Air New Zealand for direct services into Queenstown.
“We can’t control the weather, but we will have a highly advanced capability in place that will greatly reduce disruptions due to weather and low clouds, which means customers can plan their ski holidays with much more certainty when flying on Air New Zealand.”
Because of its high precision capability RNP can also significantly reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions by using much shorter approaches to airports.