French Polynesia-based Air Tahiti Nui is preparing for its 20th anniversary celebrations, and it has something special in mind: it is phasing out its fleet of Airbus A340-300s and replacing them with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The airline’s five A340s will leave the fleet between November 2018 and September 2019 as the four new Boeing aircraft (two purchased, two leased) come on line.
The Dreamliners will not just herald the entry into service of a new aircraft type for the airline, but also the introduction of premium economy class – branded as Moana Premium (‘moana’ meaning ocean). Air Tahiti Nui is fitting these 32-seat cabins (five rows at 2-3-2) with Zodiac Aerospace’s Z535 seat, with a pitch of 38in, a width of 19in, 8in of recline and 13in Panasonic eX3 IFE displays. The airline has also stated that the cabins will be designed in a “distinctly Tahitian” style.
The Z535 model joins Zodiac’s Z300 model on board, which is the airline’s choice for economy class (named Moana Economy by the airline). 232 of these seats will be split across two cabins on the Dreamliners in a 3-3-3 configuration. These seats will offer an articulating seat pan, a 31in pitch, 6in of recline and 12in IFE (the same screen size as found in business class on the outgoing A340s!). In addition to the eX3 AVOD IFE, Panasonic Avionics is also supplying its eXConnect satellite broadband systems for the Dreamliners.