Air Tahiti has become the newest Boeing 787 operator in Oceania after taking delivery of the first of four aircraft on order.
The first, F-OMUA, was acquired via lease from ALC and handed over at Boeing’s North Charleston facility on October 8 (US time) with French Polynesia President Edouard Fritch, invited guests and Boeing representatives in attendance.
Air Tahiti Nui has said previously that of the four 787-9s on order, two airframes would be acquired via lease and two purchased directly from Boeing.
They replace its current fleet of five Airbus A340-300s which serve Tahiti–Papeete–Auckland, Papeete-Tokyo Narita and Papeete-Los Angeles-Paris Charles de Gaulle.
Air Tahiti Nui becomes the fourth operator of the 787 in Oceania alongside Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Qantas.
Its 787-9s will be configured to carry 294 passengers, with 30 lie-flat seats in a business class, 32 in premium economy in a 2-3-2 layout and 232 in economy at nine abreast. The airline has chosen General Electric GEnx engines for its Dreamliner fleet. There is seat-back inflight entertainment and inflight internet Wi-Fi.
By contrast, Air Tahiti Nui’s A340-300s have 32 business class seats laid out in 2-2-2 configuration, 264 in economy at eight abreast and no premium economy for a total of 296.
“Our dream has finally become reality with the arrival of Air Tahiti Nui’s first 787-9 Dreamliner,” Air Tahiti Nui chief executive and chairman Michel Monvoisin said in a statement.
“The Tahitian Dreamliner will make flying to one of the world’s treasures an unforgettable experience, as we introduce new seats and a culturally inspired cabin on the 787. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary this year, the 787 Dreamliner will guide us towards another successful 20 years and beyond.”
Boeing senior vice president of commercial sales and marketing Ihssane Mounir said the delivery of the first 787 represented the start of a new partnership between Boeing and Air Tahiti Nui.
“We are honoured to welcome Air Tahiti Nui as a new Boeing customer and the latest member of the 787 Dreamliner family,” Mounir said.
“We are confident the airplane’s market-leading efficiency and unmatched passenger comforts will transform the airline’s operation.”
VIDEO: Air Tahiti Nui calls its Tahitian Dreamliner “the most immersive aircraft”, as this video from the airline’s YouTube channel explains.