Air New Zealand is investing $25 million in advanced flight technology for its ATR fleet which should reduce weather delays for passengers.
The national carrier is partnering with aircraft manufacturer ATR to equip its 68-seat ATR turboprop fleet with Required Navigation Performance (RNP AR) technology.
RNP AR enables specially trained pilots to fly to lower altitudes with a more precise and efficient route to an airport, saving fuel and helping reduce the impact of bad weather on services.
The airline announced late last year it was buying 15 new ATR72-600 aircraft for its regional services.
Four would allow for further growth on regional routes and 11 would replace its ATR72-500 fleet, bringing its ATR fleet to 29 aircraft.
Air New Zealand chief flight operations and safety officer captain David Morgan said the technology investment would benefit customers.
"This technology will enable us to provide a more consistent service for customers who travel on our ATR aircraft where weather conditions can at times prove challenging for our turboprop operations, particularly over the winter months," Morgan said.
ATR vice president of contracts Fabrice Vautier said Air New Zealand would be the first ATR operator in the world to use the advanced RNP AR capability.
Pending certification and regulatory approval the first ATR aircraft fitted with the technology was expected to begin operations in 2018.
Meanwhile on Thursday it was announced Jodie King would join the Air New Zealand executive team on February 29 as chief people officer.
King takes over from Lorraine Murphy who is leaving the airline to work at National Australia Bank in Melbourne.
King joined Air New Zealand in 2013 after spending 15 years in the United Kingdom with KPMG where she worked in leadership and consultancy roles with companies like London Underground, BP, EasyJet, Royal Bank of Scotland and Diageo.
Prior to KPMG she worked for New Zealand Treasury and NZ Dairy Co-operative.