Air Tahiti Nui (TN, Papeete) is evaluating launching a direct Papeete-Paris CDG service, which would then become the world's longest scheduled passenger flight, Chief Operating Officer Mathieu Bechonnet told Airways Magazine.

"This plane [B787-9] would allow us to fly nonstop from Tahiti to Paris. We would beat the current Singapore Changi-New York Newark flight in terms of time and distance. We are really thinking about it. The Los Angeles Int'l stop is not really that comfortable for our French passengers," Bechonnet said.

At 15,715-kilometre great circle distance, the route would be nearly 400 kilometres longer than Singapore Airlines' service to Newark, currently the world's longest non-stop flight.

CEO Michel Monvoisin clarified to ch-aviation that the airline had no immediate plans to launch the service, although it was studying it.

"For the moment, we are just looking at Singapore Airlines' and Qantas' experiences on ultra long haul. No specific plan yet even if we know that it will happen in the future and it will be interesting for us," Monvoisin said.

The airline further issued a statement denying any specific plans to launch direct Papeete-Paris flights.

The Polynesian airline currently operates daily between Papeete and Los Angeles, with two flights per week continuing onwards to Paris CDG. The flights to the French capital are onboard Air Tahiti Nui's previous generation A340-300 aircraft.

The carrier is in the midst of a fleet renewal programme, replacing its five Airbus quadjets with four B787-9s, of which two have so far been delivered. The other two Boeing aircraft are due to deliver by September 2019.

Air France (AF, Paris CDG) currently also serves Tahiti via Los Angeles 3x weekly using B777-200 equipment. Since 2018, French Bee (BF, Paris Orly) has been operating to Paris Orly 2x weekly via San Francisco, CA using A350-900 aircraft.

CEO Michel Monvoisin also said that the airline sees its partnerships, including with American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth), as a strong asset in the competition against other airlines. He said that while Air Tahiti Nui is still evaluating joining Oneworld as a Oneworld Connect member, it can also effectively build a network of code-shares and other partnerships without becoming a member of the alliance.

Editorial Comment: The article has been updated with CEO's comments. - 30.01.2019 - 17:52 UTC