Incorporating a new aircraft type intoafleetisalwaysamajorstepfor an airline, but it’s difficult to think of a comparison with Air Tahiti
Nui’s (ATN) widebody fleet switch in
terms of game-changing significance.
In October, the French Polynesian
carrier took delivery of the frst of four
Boeing 787-9s. A second Dreamliner
was scheduled for delivery in January, to
be followed by a third in May and the
fourth in August. It’s a rapid ramp-up
that will allow the airline to phase out
its fve Airbus A340-300s—with an
average age of 18 years—and phase in a new premium
economy cabin, redesigned business cabin, new livery
and upscaled service that matches the decidedly upscale
leisure market of its home base.
As it makes the switch, ATN’s long-haul network
comprises fights from the Tahitian capital of Papeete to
Auckland, Tokyo, Los Angeles LAX and a one-stop service to Paris. Te frst two 787s are leased from Air Lease
Corp.; the second pair will be owned. ATN selected the
GE Aviation GEnx engine for all four.
ATN has confgured the Dreamliners with 294 seats
comprising 30 full lie-fat business seats in a 2-2-2 lay-
out, 32 seats in the all-new premium economy cabin in a
2-3-2 layout, and the remaining economy seats in a 3-3-
3 layout. Zodiac Aerospace is supplying the economy
and premium economy seats, while Rockwell Collins
provides the business-class seats and Panasonic the IFE
systems and onboard Wi-Fi connectivity.
A busy year
Briefng AT W in December on the day the company of-fcially opened its new headquarters adjacent to Papeete’s
AIR TAHITI NUI’S new business cabin (left)
and premium economy cabin created for
the Boeing 787.
With a transition to 787s, Air
Tahiti Nui is transforming
itself in the exclusive French
Polynesian market. BY KAREN WALKER