Air Tahiti Nui is preparing to inaugurate its Boeing 787s in early November, which will also mark the introduction of its new cabin configuration.

The French Polynesian carrier is scheduled to take delivery of the first of its four 787-9s in October, and it is expected to begin operations Nov. 7, an airline spokeswoman told ATW’s sister publication Aviation Daily.

The remaining aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in January, May and August of 2019. Two of the four are leased and the others owned, with the leased aircraft to be delivered first.

Air Tahiti’s 787s will replace its current widebody fleet of five Airbus A340-300s, of which three are owned and two are leased. The A340s are expected to be phased out on a one-for-one basis as the 787s arrive, with the last two A340s to be phased out when the fourth 787 starts scheduled service in early September 2019.

The airline’s initial 787 will be deployed on the route from Papeete to Auckland. The carrier’s widebodies are also used on flights to Tokyo, Los Angeles and Paris.

Air Tahiti is configuring its 787s with three classes—economy, premium economy and business. The A340s currently have two classes, so the premium economy section is new for the airline. The premium-economy section will have 32 seats in 2-3-2 configuration, with the seats designed by French aircraft equipment company Zodiac Aerospace and featuring 38-inch pitch and 8-inch recline. The 787s will have 232 economy seats in 3-3-3 layout, and are also designed by Zodiac with 31-inch pitch and 6-inch recline.

The new business-class seats, designed by Rockwell Collins, will convert to full-flat beds. There are 30 seats in this section in a 2-2-2 configuration, with 60-inch pitch. The 787s will be equipped with Panasonic eX3 IFE systems, with high-speed inflight connectivity via Panasonic’s eXConnect satellite broadband.

Adrian Schofield, avweekscho@gmail.com