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Air Tahiti Nui Goes from All-Airbus to All-Boeing, Retires Last A340
Air Tahiti Nui has retired its last Airbus A340-300, once the flagship of its fleet, and is now an all-Boeing 787 Dreamliner airline. The French Polynesian carrier started its transition less than a year ago, taking delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner from Boeing’s North Charleston facility in October 2018 and flying home via Oklahoma City and Los Angeles.
The airline flew its final quad engine revenue flight on Tuesday night from Auckland, New Zealand to Papeete as TN102, arriving shortly before midnight. When the sun came up on Wednesday morning, Air Tahiti Nui was an entirely new airline that had shed its Airbus ties in favor of Boeing’s twin-engine offering. Airbus had lost another Oceanic carrier to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
One of the last remaining operators of the Airbus A340-300, Air Tahiti Nui said goodbye lastly to F-OSEA, named Rangiroa. The final aircraft had been delivered to the airline in December 2001 when Air Tahiti Nui was still growing its Airbus A340 fleet, which maxed out at six aircraft comprised of the A340-200 and A340-300 variants, according to planespotters.net information.
With Air Tahiti Nui no longer in the A340-300 club, the number of airlines operating them in scheduled service now stands at 18. The aircraft can still be found primarily in Europe flying for airlines such as Eurowings, Lufthansa, Swiss and Scandinavian airlines, but also in Africa for South African Airways, Air Madagascar and Air Mauritius; South America for Aerolineas Argentinas and Surinam Airways and Asia for Syrian Arab Airlines, Iran Aseman Airlines and Mahan Airlines.
The new Tahitian Dreamliners, as the airline affectionately refers to them, represent a new era not only for the airline but the passengers. Every cabin on the tropical aircraft feature upgrades ranging from the WiFi connectivity to the addition of a premium economy cabin not found on the Airbus A340s.
In economy class, the aircraft features 232 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration, a denser configuration compared to the Airbus’ 2-3-2 configuration. The standard Zodiac Z300 seat offers 31 inches of pitch, 17 inches of width and 6 inches of recline, as well as a Panasonic’s eX3 in-flight Entertainment system installed in 12-inch touchscreens.
Premium economy class offers a 2-3-2 configuration with seat pitches ranging from 32-34 inches. The recliner seats feature 20.4 inches of width, 8 inches of seat recline and 13-inch touchscreens. Most importantly for the airline, the new business class cabin features a 2-2-2 configuration with paired seats on an angle. The 30 fully lie-flat seats from Rockwell Collins undoubtedly offer a better rest than the angle-flat seats found on the A340.
The new Dreamliners operate from Papeete to destinations across the globe from Auckland to Paris, Los Angeles to Tokyo. Rumors had circulated earlier this year about the airline considering a nonstop Papeete-Paris flight, eliminating the stop in Los Angeles, but those claims were disproven by the airline.
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