Air Tahiti Nui flies to four continents with a fleet of only five planes

Air Tahiti Nui

Air Tahiti Nui flies to four continents but has only five airplanes – all Airbus A340s. Photo courtesy of the airline.

My readers are good.

Last week, I asked a trivia question: “What airline serves four continents but has only five planes?”

Two readers correctly guessed the right answer. It’s Air Tahiti Nui, a 15-year-old airline with an impressive route network and a very small fleet. With a “hub” in Papeete, Tahiti, Air Tahiti Nui files to Paris, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Auckland. (The Paris/Papeete flight makes a stop in Los Angeles.) Air Tahiti Nui actually only schedules four of its planes at any one time, using the fifth one for charters and as a spare.

The airline has a fleet of all Airbus A340-300s. The A340s have four engines, and they’ve fallen out of favor with most airlines because they’re not particularly efficient. The Wall Street Journal recently wrote about the airplane, noting that “Leading airlines from Canada to China have unloaded the massive planes after just a few years of use, and new takers have been few.”

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