TAHITI, FRENCH POLYNESIA — The CEO of Air Tahiti has hinted that the airline might buy jets in the future to expand its fleet in the wake of the recent increase in passenger numbers, which includes ATR turboprops only.

Manate Vivish stated at a press conference last week in Papeete that the airline anticipates flying 900,000 passengers in total by the end of 2022, which is sufficient to justify adding more capacity with larger planes.

An additional aircraft, an ATR72, is scheduled to arrive in May 2023, and two additional ATR42-600S will follow in 2025.

The press briefing was mainly conducted to highlight Air Tahiti's quick turnaround after the global epidemic. International flights and tourists returned when French Polynesia reopened its borders. According to Vivish, Air Tahiti will carry a record-breaking one million passengers in 2023.

Air Tahiti currently flies to 46 destinations within French Polynesia and operates two ATR42-600s and eight ATR72-600s. The ATR72-600s are all owned, with the exception of F-HGNU (MSN 1288), which is wet-leased from Regourd Aviation. In May 2023, the ninth ATR72-600 is expected to join the French carrier's fleet. The pandemic led to a negotiated three-year delivery delay for the plane that was purchased in 2019 for delivery in 2020.