Historically in the hands of Air Tahiti, the connections between Tahiti and the Polynesian islands most frequented by international tourists (Bora-Bora, Moorea, Rangiroa, etc.) are about to be turned upside down from 2022. According to our information, a new company plans to launch its operations at the very end of 2022, “around November”, according to several sources on site. A request was filed with the Tahitian aviation services on January 4. On the program: two AT 72-600s and significant price reductions on inter-island connections. This is Air Bora.
Air Moana, Motu Link Airline
But that’s not all. Air Tahiti should also see the arrival of two other domestic companies during the year. First, the activities by Air Moana should begin in June 2022. The company, a subsidiary of the company Natireva, plans to lease 3 ATR 72s and 2 ATR 42s, and to serve 21 Polynesian destinations, 12 in the free competition zone and 9 opening up destinations. Recruitment of crews is currently underway. Finally, another project is on the desk of the Polynesian Ministry of Transport. Her name : Motu Link Airline. Here too, the announced fleet should be 2 ATR 72-600s, to eventually employ 162 people. All with a clearly displayed low-cost positioning. At the end of 2021, the Tahitian government revealed a few first destinations: Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Tikehau, Rangiroa, Fakarava. In a second step, Motu Link plans to extend its activities to Maupiti, Moorea, Nuku Hiva, Atuona, Rurutu and Tubuai, still according to the Tahitian government.
Air Tahiti’s anger
An opening to competition which is obviously not to the liking of the main local player, Air Tahiti. In an interview given this week to Radio 1, Manate Vivish, Director General launched it clearly: “there is only room for one”. For him, in an already tight market, there is little chance that new companies will do well. “The prospects for return and investment in the airline sector are very limited. I demand to see where this miracle of gain will occur”, he added, specifying that no collaboration or discussions were planned with the new entrants.
“It hurts me to think that we negotiated, we came to an agreement with the country, we signed a contract with the country for a service defined as it was… and then someone comes and says “I can do better” and suddenly, the country tells us you go out and we take the next one », he also launched. For its part, the government is above all highlighting the drop in prices and the plurality of services that the competition it is in the process of putting in place will bring.
“There are new projects in the inter-island air service, and if everything is put in place, there will be competition. What the government wants is for there to be a diversified inter-island transport offer, so that the population can benefit from lower prices, flexibility of supply, and the quality of services on board., said at a press conference Georges Puchon, director of civil aviation in Polynesia. In any case, the price war has already started and Air Tahiti should, from April 2022, lower its prices.
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Posted by Pierre Georges
Journalist – TourMaG.com
See all articles by Pierre Georges