26 ATW | February 2019 | atwonline.com
the 787’s suitability for our long and thin market.
“Te A350 is a great aircraft, but it’s more of a 777-
type contender. I don’t think we would have got a 25%
fuel saving with the A350.”
While it’s early days, Bechonnet and Monvoisin say
they are already seeing fuel savings over the A340 that
are well on the way to their 25% goal, while carbon
emissions—especially important in a pristine environ-
ment like Tahiti—are being reduced some 30%.
“Twenty-fve percent is a big number,” Bechonnet
emphasized, and is being achieved at the airline’s cur-
rent 180-minute extended operations (ETOPS) rating.
ATN is confdent that it will get a full 270-minute
ETOPS soon, and that will permit it to use the most
efcient routes for a 25%
Aircraft and engine reliability have also been good. “GEnx is a beautiful engine.
Te numbers are very good,” Bechonnet said. “We are
very, very happy with 787 reliability. Tere are always is-
sues with a new aircraft, and it’s a very diferent aircraft.
Tis aircraft talks a lot, and you need to be prepared for
a lot of data. But everything has worked perfectly and
we are very pleased. Te - 9 is delivering beyond what
Composite aircraft like the 787 and A350 have be-
come critical to business and competitiveness, Bechon-
net believes, not just because of their efciencies, regard-
less of where oil prices stand, but also because of their
“We took the decision to start with a clean sheet in
terms of what we were looking for. It was a courageous
approach and required huge energy across the group
because everything has had to be reworked—our in-
frastructure and operations,” he said. “But it was about
getting the best for our market, which meant getting the
most efcient aircraft. Our market will never be like Ha-
waii. But if our market grows, we will have options such
as going up to the 787-10. But size-wise, we are happy
with our choice.”
On the MRO side, ATN opted to go with Air France-
KLM Engineering & Maintenance and agreed to a con-
tract that was being fnalized in December to start in
“Tey operate practically everywhere we go, whether
that’s Los Angeles or Japan. And we also have strong line
maintenance here in Papeete,” Bechonnet said. “You
have to be careful about corrosion here because of the
salt, but what we are seeing is that this is an aircraft you
don’t touch in the frst year. And compared with run-
ning a four-engine, 18-year-old aircraft, you are able to
be much more accurate and reliable, so you can go from
seven to 16 hours a day, which is key to productivity.”
Bechonnet likens an airliner cabin to “expensive real
estate” that must be designed to ft its market.
“In our market, there is more demand for the front-end of the cabin. However, we also saw there was a demand that fell between economy and business and that
enabled us to say, let’s take this price point but go beyond
what is expected of that product,” he said. “So, we took
that approach, and we have a seven-abreast premium
AIR TAHITI NUI Boeing 787-9 at
Fa’a’a International Airport.