Air NZ to replace its Saab fleet 28 September 2004 By ROELAND VAN DEN BERGH
Air New Zealand is planning to replace its fleet of 17 Saab 340A turbo-prop aircraft at a potential cost of $180 million.
The 33-seat Saabs fly mainly on provincial routes and are operated by Air New Zealand subsidiary Air Nelson.
Air New Zealand spokesman Glen Sowry said the board was briefed on a replacement aircraft last week and approved negotiations with a single vendor after three manufacturers submitted to the airline in recent months.
"There is one vendor that we are actively negotiating with," Mr Sowry said.
He would not say who the competing manufacturers were. The existing fleet has an average age of about 16 years.
Any new aircraft would be more efficient to run and have lower maintenance requirements than the old ones, Mr Sowry said.
Of the 17 aircraft, Air New Zealand owned 10 and leased the remainder.
AdvertisementAdvertisementThe fleet purchase would not require additional capital raising, Mr Sowry said. Air New Zealand has more than $1 billion in cash reserves.
An industry source said the most logical replacement was the improved 340B Saab version, which was popular with regional operators in Australia.
However, Saab stopped building this model in 1998, though the Swedish manufacturer could be persuaded to open a production run for 17 aircraft at an estimated US$7 million each.
Another option would be for Air New Zealand to buy second-hand 340Bs and restore them to as-new condition, a process known as zero timing.
This was a cheaper option, with the aircraft costing between US$4 million and US$5 million each, plus the cost of restoration, the source said.
Sticking with Saab would also mean less retraining for engineers and pilots.
Air New Zealand is also buying 15 Airbus A320 jets for its short-haul international services.
In June it agreed to buy right new Boeing 777-200ER long-haul jets and two Boeing 7E7s.
Its domestic Boeing 737-300 fleet is likely to be replaced with Airbus A319s for which Air New Zealand has purchase rights.
Hmmm, even if Saab agree to churn out 17 new 340B+s at $7m each, where is the remaining $60m going? Also I assume the 10 Saabs owned have some residual value which would further seperate these figures.
Am I missing something or has the 'industry source' ignored the simple maths? This seems to be the strongest indication yet of aircraft other than Saabs. Of course if the estimated cost is in $NZ this all goes out the window.
Would this "industry source" be that idiot Les Bloxham? I don't think I have heard one accurate word escape his mouth on anything concerning aviation. The ONLY benefit in getting the 340B over the Q300/ATR42 is reduced training costs, which would only be a one off saving due to the fact that whichever new aircraft (Q300/ATR) they aquire will come with a simulator so no more sending crews to Melbourne. The Dash and ATR would be cheaper to run thanks to their more efficient engines and substantially lower maintenance costs. This would far outweigh any benefits in reduced training costs. The 33 seat limit of the saab is starting to cost the company money in lost revenue due to the fact that flights are booked out and the pax are looking elsewhere for flights. The fact that the figure of 180 million is being used says to me that they are going to be purchasing a new fleet and using the sale of the saabs they own to offset the aquisition costs.
How about this for an idea. Eagle operating Q200s (should go everywhere the 1900 does and at worst slightly payload restricted at places like WR.) Air Nelson operating Q300s and Chook operating Q400s. Hmm one great big pool of spares, engineering expertise, and pilots. Take this to the logical conclusion and you merge them all into one big happy ? family! it has to happen sooner or later. Seeing the link airlines make the bulk of Air NZs profits I am sure they will look to increase this further as the squeeze comes on their international operation. Aparently there was a memo floating around eagle the other day more or less saying the 1900 is too small now.
My money (well the governments) is on the Dash 8!! It will be good too... here at Massey we are trained to a standard well beyond the turboprop world but I think most of the other pro's here are a bit out of touch with reality thinking you can get out of Massey and straight into a jet...... not me though, I'm gonna do the hard yards like everyone else. I graduate shortly with over 200 hours and lots of multi engine two crew experience so will ring Air Nelson and go down for an interview... I think the Dash 8 will be a good stepping stone after Massey to fill the gap to get into a jet. Six months at Air Nelson should be sufficient then will probably go to Air New Zealand.
A good tip for your upcoming interview(s) Mr/Ms Massey Prostitute is to demonstrate your ability to replicate autopilot noises often heard in the background on the R/T. That'll REALLY impress them. Give them a "bing bong" and you'll be in
Was at the BIG HQ today - don't ask - and spied for a nano-second in the office behind the office I was in - as one of the gentlemen in the meeting came from said office - a logo'd desk model of......the Dash 8!
It luckily wasn't spied that I'd spied it. Though I guess now the spies will prob now that I did spy it.
Was it just a pretty desk model for an exec, or a model future?
A good tip for your upcoming interview(s) Mr/Ms Massey Prostitute is to demonstrate your ability to replicate autopilot noises often heard in the background on the R/T
I don't need to do that but thanks for the advice. I'm from Massey, we have a reputation that will be shine through while I'm down for my interview. I'm going to go down in my Massey uniform just so they know where I did my training... Although since it will only be an interview for a turboprop and we're trained for jet's, maybe I shouldn't wear my uniform... Any suggestions anyone??
And as for...
Mr/Ms Massey Prostitute
It is Mr thank you... and it's not Prostitute... Just Pro... short for Professional. Although while out on the town when I pull out my pilots licence, that does do wonders, the ladys love it and can't keep away... I tend not to charge for my services so that would count me out as a Prostitute.