In 1996, Air Tahiti Nui, the first international airline based in Papeete, Tahiti, was established to connect the world to the islands of Tahiti, one of the world’s great treasures. With its hub at Faa'a International Airport, Papeete, Air Tahiti Nui is French Polynesia's flag carrier airline and majority owned by the French Polynesian Government.
In November 1998, Air Tahiti Nui commenced flight operations. The airline began with only one aircraft, an Airbus A340-200, and limited routes to Los Angeles and Paris. It operates international services for leisure travel markets.
At the beginning of 2002, Air Tahiti Nui added two A340-300 aircraft to its fleet. With great service and fairly reasonable tariffs, the airline had become a strong competitor on Los Angeles to Paris and Los Angeles to New Zealand routes.
In December 2002, Air Tahiti Nui doubled its fleet of A340-300s to four, which allowed for the rapid expansion of the key Papeete-Los Angeles-Paris route. After retiring the A340-200 in spring 2013, Air Tahiti Nui’s fleet is exclusively comprised of Airbus A340-300 aircraft, among the most reliable and quietest planes.
In June 2005, when the fifth A340-300 was added to the fleet, Air Tahiti Nui added Sydney to their network but abandoned its direct flights between French Polynesia and Sydney in 2009. In 2010, the airline also withdrew from New York.
Since 2005, Air Tahiti Nui exclusively operates one of the youngest fleets in the world of Airbus A340-300 aircraft, with added spaciousness and comfort in all classes. With its fleet of five Airbus A340-300s, Air Tahiti Nui provides service to Tahiti from Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo and Auckland. With partnership and codeshare agreements, that route network is extended to include 39 major cities around the world.
In 2010-2012, Air Tahiti Nui received several of the travel industry’s highest honors. Air Tahiti Nui was selected as one of the "World's Best" international airlines by readers of Travel + Leisure in 2011 and 2010 and as Best Airline in the South Pacific by readers of Global Traveler in 2011 and 2012.
In August 2012, Air Tahiti Nui added another oneworld partner as a codeshare partner. Air Tahiti Nui placed its code on American Airlines’ services from Los Angeles to 15 US cities, including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, New York and Washington DC. In return, American Airlines placed its code on Air Tahiti Nui’s services between Papeete and Los Angeles.
In 2013, Air Tahiti Nui launched its new cabin configuration and entertainment system on board its fleet. In April, the first refurbished and reconfigured A340-300 was introduced on the Papeete-Los Angeles-Paris route. The elimination of First Class allowed the capacity in the Poerava Business Class to be increased from 24 seats to 32 angled lie-flat cocoon seats. Moana Economy Class features new wider-than-normal 18-inch seats with an average 32-inch pitch while retaining the popular 2-4-2 seating configuration. The highlight of Air Tahiti Nui’s new cabins is the Inflight Entertainment System revamped in the form of seatback touch-screen monitors in both classes of service featuring an “on demand” access to a selection of movies, television programs, magazines, games and music on every round-trip journey. The upgrade ensures Air Tahiti Nui can compete on product with Air Pacific.
In May 2015, Air Tahiti Nui has finalized an order for two Boeing 787-9s. Two more will be leased from Air Lease Corp. The new aircraft, which will replace Air Tahiti Nui’s five A340-300s, are scheduled to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2018 when the airline celebrates its 20th-anniversary.
No deadly incidents involving Air Tahiti Nui have been recorded so far. Air Tahiti Nui holds the IOSA registration, the IATA Operational Safety Audit – the most accepted and recognized operational audit standard. This registration verifies that all procedures are deemed indispensable in terms of flight safety. Air Tahiti Nui works exclusively with specialists approved by EASA (the European Aviation Safety Agency) and benefits from Lufthansa Technik Industry's expertise in maintenance program design.