ATR and Air New Zealand have signed an agreement to explore the potential for hybrid propulsion to be used in regional aircraft.
Under the agreement, the parties will consider the development of hybrid technology and how they might be supported in operations as they come to market in future years.
"Hybrid aircraft are expected to enter the market in the next decade or so,” says Air NZ chief executive Christopher Luxon.
“Depending on when hybrid and electric technologies become available for larger turbo-prop aircraft, we believe there is potential for these to be a viable option for our regional network."
ATR chief executive Stefan Bortoli says that hybrid and electric propulsion are likely to play a role in the future development of regional aircraft.
“The combination of ATR and Air New Zealand jointly exploring the huge opportunities and implications on the whole regional aviation ecosystem is the perfect team,” he says. “This will be a unique benchmark for the industry and for New Zealand and we look forward to starting this exciting project together."
Air NZ subsidiary Mount Cook Airline has been a longtime operator of ATR aircraft, and Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that it has 28 ATR 72s in service and eight more on order.