Air New Zealand (ANZ) will be having a board meeting on 23 July at which it plans to decide which aircraft to order for the future fleet of its domestic regional carrier Mount Cook Airlines.
He says the winner will be announced soon after that board meeting.
Pitt declines to comment on the pros and cons of each aircraft type for confidentiality reasons.
ANZ’s board met late last month but there was no decision at that meeting and Pitt says this is because the airline is still evaluating the different aircraft types on offer.
“There are a lot of arguments from the different aircraft manufacturers but at the end of the day it comes down to the cost benefit and what profit and yield you will get out of a particular route or aircraft,” he adds.
Mount Cook is headquartered in Christchurch, a city on New Zealand’s main southern island.
It has a fleet of 11 ATR 72-500s, according to Flight’s ACAS database, and operates these 70-seat turboprops on domestic routes, many of which link cities on New Zealand’s main southern island with those on the main northern island.
But Mount Cook has been toying with the idea of branching out and operating some flights linking New Zealand with Norfolk Island and destinations in Australia and the South Pacific.
Embraer is pitching its E-190, because this 90-seat aircraft has extended-range twin-engine operations (ETOPS) capability.
Pitt told ATI in April that the airline is likely to order 13-17 aircraft to begin with but would need enough options on top of that to last for the next 10-15 years.
He said because the airline is looking 15 years into the future it has been examining new-generation turboprops in development, namely the 90-seat Bombardier Q400X and a new larger-capacity ATR 72.
Source: flightglobal.com's sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news