Air Tahiti Nui Chairman and CEO, Michel Monvoisin, says that profits in the aviation value chain are still unevenly distributedMichel Monvoisin, Air Tahiti
What is the secret behind the airline’s positive performance in recent years?
We are doing well. We have seen continuous growth since 2013; and 2015 was a particularly good year. After years of surprises, shocks, and downturns for the industry, that’s good news.
It’s giving us some reserve cash to invest and that will help us in the future. And it will help French Polynesia too as we are the flag carrier and a vital part of the economy.
The current Tahitian Government and President have been in place for four years, giving us the stability we need.
It is no coincidence that we have been doing well in that time. The lower fuel price and tourism growth have played an important part too.
But before that, we had a particularly turbulent time locally. There were 11 Presidents in 10 years.
We are state-owned and it is good to know that government understands and supports the work that we do in connecting the country to the world.
But we have to be sustainable in our own right and we’ve been able to post double-digit profit in the last three years. It is a unique business model and so we do face unique challenges.
What changes are you making as part of your future strategy?
We are moving our fleet to the Boeing 787-9. The first one will be delivered in November 2018.
That is going to be a massive change for us. It will be like having a whole new airline.
The 787-9 will be the perfect aircraft for our long, thin routes. It will be particularly important for the Asian market because of its range. Buying the 787-9 shows our maturity as an airline and how far we have come.
The Airbus A340 has served us well. It has been a great aircraft for us. But we’re going to two engines from four and we’ll be far more fuel efficient.
The other positive step forward will be increasing our codeshares to expand our network
In any case, running a widebody aircraft is complex and we are a small airline. A lot of the work has to be sub-contracted.
Of course, we always ensure we have fully trained people as well because of our remote location. We have to know how to do things ourselves if need be. That will always be the case.
We make sure we have qualified people across all our departments. There are some ex-pats but largely it is a local workforce all trained to international standards. And the change in aircraft types won’t affect our pilots. They will be fully trained.
And the other positive step forward will be increasing our codeshares to expand our network. The future is really exciting.
How important is the airline to the prosperity of the country?
Tahiti is in the middle of the South Pacific. You do have to look at the map to appreciate just how isolated we are and how important aviation is to the country.
The shortest route we fly is a five-hour trip to Auckland. And we fly to every continent except Africa.
We are highly dependent on inbound traffic and there is a structural limitation in our growth.Fuente: CAPA