"Um.. are there enough hotel rooms in Tahiti to support increased services with A380's?"
I think the question is is whether there are enough visitors to Tahiti to support increased svcs with A380's. I'm not sure that planes are really going to Tahiti as full these days nor have been for the past few years. Some airlines have dropped or reduced services in the past 3 years. Corsair went from 3 flights a week to 0, Hawaiian Airlines dropped from 2 to 1 per week, AOM/Air Liberte flew 4 or 5 times per week and now 0 flights. Air New Zealand used to fly 742's from LAX
and now uses 767's and shares the plane with pax continuing on to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. Air France used to have 4 during the high season (April-Sept?) and now only has 3 per week. Service all around has been dropping to Papeete.
Air Tahiti Nui has of course stepped up service, but I'm not sure how many of those flights are going out completely full. The fact that they continue to offer bargain basement airfares as low as $340 and are used by discounters offering (as low as) $540 one week packages and more 'usual' $999 one week packages, seem to denote that FP
is trying to lure and or stimulate business to the islands.
As the Metropole lessens it's financial aid to the territory, FP
does need to find new ways of bringing in revenue and jobs to the territory, and there is a huge building boom going on there. Bora Bora and Moorea are much more built up compared to 5 years ago. Plans to build a hotel on Tetiaroa are in the works, resorts on distant atolls and obscure islands have opened (Taha'a, Fakarava, Tikehau). But there are still more rooms than there are visitors these days.
Can anybody guess what Air France's future to Tahiti will be? It seems like ATN has (or wants to) become the dominant carrier to Tahiti from the US and France, so Im just wondering how AF is competing on the route. ATN now serves CDG, what, 6 times per week and LAX at least 12? vs. 3x per week from CDG -LAX - PPT. Since AF Cabin Boy posted that AF announced it will continue to fly to Papeete, that sounds to me like they are at least 'considering' dropping the route from time to time. I remember reading on Tahiti 1 about six months ago that there were some plans to produce a new French overseas airline that would serve the territories from France, so that there would be uninterrupted service should Air France decide to drop any routes (such as which happened with Corsair and AOM/Air Liberte).
[Edited 2003-07-05 09:29:50]