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mercure1
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Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:38 am

Interesting story out that the President of French Polynesia will be meeting with Virgin Australia boss John Borgetti in coming weeks to discuss possible partnerships with Air Tahiti Nui.

While a code-share is likely along with renewal of air link between Sydney and FP, President Temaru is seeking some form of investment in Air Tahiti Nui possibly modeled after the Virgin Samoa partnership.

Per Temaru the continued economic struggles in the Europe and the US make the Oceania region along with Asia the needed focus to drive tourism and trade to FP, so a link with Australia would be an important component.

Story: (in French)
http://www.lesnouvelles.pf/article/c...-fait-la-une/oscar-mise-sur-virgin
 
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:11 am

This should be interesting to see if it goes ahead on two levels that I can see. The first why didn't TN approach QF (or did they and they knocked it back?) after all, there is an existing codeshare with QF via AKL and interline airfares with QF
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:29 am

Quoting mercure1 (Thread starter):
While a code-share is likely along with renewal of air link between Sydney and FP, President Temaru is seeking some form of investment in Air Tahiti Nui possibly modeled after the Virgin Samoa partnership.

Virgin Samoa (ex-Polynesian Blue) may be the best thing that ever happened to the airlines of the small island nations.

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EK413
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:47 am

Quoting mariner (Reply 2):
Virgin Samoa (ex-Polynesian Blue) may be the best thing that ever happened to the airlines of the small island nations.

mariner

Possible take over and Air Tahiti Nui to become Virgin Tahiti Nui Airlines?

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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:51 am

Quoting EK413 (Reply 3):
Possible take over and Air Tahiti Nui to become Virgin Tahiti Nui Airlines?

Sounds good to me - or just Virgin Tahiti.

I wish Qantas had developed a similar structure with its investment in Air Pacific.

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LAXintl
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:28 am

Yes might be a good opportunity to repair the dismal performance of ATN.

I can already imagine "Virgin Polynesie" with eventual small fleet of 737NG and A330.

[Edited 2012-01-23 20:31:55]
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:28 am

Quoting mariner (Reply 4):
I wish Qantas had developed a similar structure with its investment in Air Pacific.

Last I heard QF was selling it's share in FJ...?

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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:35 am

Quoting EK413 (Reply 6):
Last I heard QF was selling it's share in FJ...?

Yeah, I heard that, too. Another opportunity for Branson/Borghetti - Virgin Fiji?

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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:41 am

Quoting mariner (Reply 7):
Yeah, I heard that, too. Another opportunity for Branson/Borghetti - Virgin Fiji?

Virgin Pacific sounds better to me 

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kiwiandrew

RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:57 am

Quoting EK413 (Reply 6):
Last I heard QF was selling it's share in FJ...?

Trying to sell... not sure whether they will find anyone willing to buy.

Back to the main story, the government of French Polynesia definitely need to take drastic action of some sort. The question is whether it will be politically acceptable to give Virgin the power to make uncomfortable/unpopular decisions.
 
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:07 am

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 9):
Back to the main story, the government of French Polynesia definitely need to take drastic action of some sort. The question is whether it will be politically acceptable to give Virgin the power to make uncomfortable/unpopular decisions.

Unfortunately in situations like these the government really have no choice but to allow another carrier with better managing decisions to step in and try save the National carrier...

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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:46 am

Quoting EK413 (Reply 10):
Unfortunately in situations like these the government really have no choice but to allow another carrier with better managing decisions to step in and try save the National carrier...

Don't get me wrong, I agree 100%, but the urge to meddle runs deep with some governments, I am not sure how 'hands off' the government would be in the end.
 
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:05 am

It could be very interesting, and it is certainly better than keeping TN as it is.

It could be prudent to use the VA 332s or NZ 763s as a stopgap for TN instead of their 343 fleet which is unsuitable fr the purposes of TN.

Perhaps if NZ purchased a controlling percentage in TN/FJ as well as VA they could really control the South Pacific with a mixed fleet of 738s/332s that could be used by any of the 3 other pacific carriers and codeshares on all service as their demands require.

They could comfortably run linking flights between NAN/RAR/PPT linking the japanese and american markets via PPT, The Chinese/HKG market via NAN. Under one livery/company it could be a small but strong carrier. Not a new concept I know (FJ was supposed to be like this originally)
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koruman
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:36 am

At the risk of sounding rude, Mercure1 sounds like the only person who has read the original article.

The article runs something like this:

1. Aggie Grey's hotels have bough Le Meridien hotel on Tahiti.
2. Aggie Grey's also own a part of Polynesian Blue/Virgin Samoa, and have passed on stories of how inbound tourism from Australia has exploded, and the French Polynesian President is interested.

But at the point, I should sound a note of caution. Samoa's hotel inventory is all in the 2-4 star range, and an LCC model from Australia works well.

But the majority of French Polynesia's hotel inventory is 5 star overwater bungalows, with prevailing nightly rates around $1000.

At the end of the cited article, Air New Zealand's Tahiti manager Christel Bole cautions that Tahiti is a poor fit for the Virgin model, as distances are much longer and low-cost fits poorly with the visitor demographic required for those hotels to make money.

I would add that French Polynesia has frequent government changes, and that this President represents an underprivileged working-class demographic which has little interest in luxury tourism.

As I've made clear elsewhere, I think that Air New Zealand, Air Calin and Air Tahiti Nui need to stop flying concurrent half-empty aircraft from Asia and need to cooperate and hub these flights.



But whereas Virgin's model is fine for Australia-Pacific islands, it's a hopeless mismatch for USA-Pacific islands.
 
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:48 am

Not 100% certain, but wouldn't Air Tahiti Nui have rights as a European airline, and as such any purchaser would gain those rights, it may make it difficult for NZ or QF to buy more than 49% but potentially VA could buy 100% if the purchase was done through the Virgin group out of London.

Just a thought
 
kiwiandrew

RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:48 am

Quoting koruman (Reply 13):
At the risk of sounding rude, Mercure1 sounds like the only person who has read the original article.

At the risk of sounding rude right back at you.... the article posted is available in French only and this is an English language forum.... are you really surprised that not everyone has read it? ( Although I plead guilty, I ought to have read it and didn't ...j'ai honte    )

Having read it now, I (belatedly) see what you mean.

[Edited 2012-01-24 01:14:29]
 
kiwiandrew

RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:52 am

Quoting hornetfan (Reply 14):
Not 100% certain, but wouldn't Air Tahiti Nui have rights as a European airline, and as such any purchaser would gain those rights, it may make it difficult for NZ or QF to buy more than 49% but potentially VA could buy 100% if the purchase was done through the Virgin group out of London.

French Polynesia is not actually part of the EU, it is a French Overseas Territory, so I am not sure whether TN counts as an EU carrier . Koruman, do you know?

PS ... also @ Koruman ... is "fenua" in Tahitian the equivalent of "whenua" in Maori?

[Edited 2012-01-24 00:57:51]
 
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:19 am

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 16):
I am not sure whether TN counts as an EU carrier

Air Tahiti Nui is absolutely an EU carrier and as such a few years ago when NZ's traffic rights from the USA to London were capped at 400 seats per day I suggested that Air NZ swap equity to allow it to operate additional services to the UK and EU.

In 2012, however, NZ has any rights it needs, but a CEO who has bad memories of his failed tenure as CEO of a major UK TV channel, and who seems keen to give Singapore Airlines and Emirates a stranglehold on the NZ-UK market.
 
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:44 am

Ive always thought that PPT would make a great stopover on a flight from South America (say GRU) on its way to somewhere in Asia (say NRT). I wonder if Air Tahiti Nui could tap into that market. Personally I'm unsure what Virgin Australia would be able to offer. There is a big difference between the routes that Virgin Samoa operates (SYD-APW 4300 km) and the routes that a 'Virgin Tahiti' would operate (SYD-PPT 6200.00 km) and thus couldn't be operated by a Boeing 737-800. I don't think Virgin Australia would want to acquire another Airbus A330-200 (I am aware they have two on order) to operate routes that are currently loss making. Too much risk, especially considering that Tahiti is a relativity premium destination and Virgin Australia is a still a LCC.

Quoting EK413 (Reply 8):
Virgin Pacific sounds better to me 

That is the name that Pacific Blue should have been given after the re-branding, rather than just becoming another part of Virgin Australia.

Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 12):
Perhaps if NZ purchased a controlling percentage in TN/FJ as well as VA they could really control the South Pacific with a mixed fleet of 738s/332s that could be used by any of the 3 other pacific carriers and codeshares on all service as their demands require.

They could comfortably run linking flights between NAN/RAR/PPT linking the japanese and american markets via PPT, The Chinese/HKG market via NAN. Under one livery/company it could be a small but strong carrier. Not a new concept I know (FJ was supposed to be like this originally)

I like this idea however Air New Zealand's management have shown over that last few years that they are averse to even moderate risk.
 
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:27 am

Quoting hornetfan (Reply 14):
Not 100% certain, but wouldn't Air Tahiti Nui have rights as a European airline, and as such any purchaser would gain those rights, it may make it difficult for NZ or QF to buy more than 49% but potentially VA could buy 100% if the purchase was done through the Virgin group out of London.

The beauty of the Virgin Samoa model is that it remains a Samoan airline. Virgin Australia has the minority shareholder at 49%, as set-up by the World Bank. The Samoan government holds 49% and Aggie Grey Hotels own the critical 2%.

As such it remains a Samoan airline with all the rights pertaining to a Samoan airline. But it is managed and operated by Virgin Australia, under very specific contract terms.

Quoting koruman (Reply 13):
At the end of the cited article, Air New Zealand's Tahiti manager Christel Bole cautions that Tahiti is a poor fit for the Virgin model, as distances are much longer and low-cost fits poorly with the visitor demographic required for those hotels to make money.

Of course he says that. He speaks for a competing airline - which lost the bid for the restructure of Polynesian.

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DJMEL
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:46 am

May I point out to all that Virgin Australia is no longer a LCC, we have a lower cost base than QF, we now have a Business Class operating on the majority routes. We would not have a secured a one brand strategy had it been for Mr Borghetti coming on board and taking us upmarket - remember SQ owns 49% of Virgin Atlantic and they have a major say on how the Virgin brand name is used - to protect there investment, they would not allow previous management team to use the Virgin name because Virgin Blue was seen as a low cost carrier, hence why Pacific Blue was born in 2005 and V Australia was born in 2008 and now confined to Airline trash can thanks to Mr Borghetti and SQ'S Mr Goh - so do not be surprised if you see a Virgin Tahiti A330-200 winging its way from SYD to PPT within 12 months.
Mr Borghetti is a very smart man remember this EY were in bed with QF when he was EGM at QF now they are in bed with VIrgin Australia. so don't be surprised if TN cut all ties with QF - and defect to Virgin Australia and how ironic would that be seeing as TN used to be the code for Australian Airlines and Mr Borghetti used to work for QF!!!!
 
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:46 pm

Quoting mariner (Reply 19):
Of course he says that. He speaks for a competing airline - which lost the bid for the restructure of Polynesian.

mariner

given all that has been said, NZ's about 19% of Virgin Aus. will carry some weight if Mr Fyfe's predeliction for the status quo prevails unless the Virgin group holding out votes him. If in fact there is anything in all of this it could be an interesting standoff between Mr Borghetti and Mr Fyfe. What is the Board representation of the various interests on Virgin Australia.
 
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:31 pm

Quoting koruman (Reply 13):
But whereas Virgin's model is fine for Australia-Pacific islands, it's a hopeless mismatch for USA-Pacific islands.

Hawaiian Airlines does okay on US/Tahiti and I would suggest there is little to choose between their service and the new-fashioned Virgin Australia - if anything the guernsey goes to the Aussie airline.

Quoting sunrisevalley (Reply 21):
given all that has been said, NZ's about 19% of Virgin Aus. will carry some weight if Mr Fyfe's predeliction for the status quo prevails unless the Virgin group holding out votes him. If in fact there is anything in all of this it could be an interesting standoff between Mr Borghetti and Mr Fyfe.

IF this were to happen - and I very much hope it does, or something like it - it is hard to think that Mr. Fyfe/Air NZ would - or could - try to stop it, the numbers aren't there.

Air NZ misses out on an opportunity? Tough. Qantas has missed out on a similar opportunity with Air Pacific, although whether the present government of Fiji would be amenable to the idea is unknown to me.

What the World Bank understood with restructure of Polynesian was that the airlines of these small island nations are not financially viable without massive subsidy (Air Nauru, anyone?), but that issues of national status (and pride) were involved. There was no patriarchal takeover by a foreign airline, but from the git-go, the newly restructured Polynesian Blue (Virgin Samoa) was transformed into an efficient and profitable airline. What had been a drain on the tiny Samoan economy became net positive to that economy.

I could wish that someone would try and structure a similar deal with "Our Airline" - the successor to Air Nauru. It is tough for me to believe that a one aircraft airline with a home base on the Pacific's ugliest island, almost completely lacking in tourist infrastructure, is a viable enterprise.

I suppose it can be argued that the Australian government was helping to subsidize it with the Norfolk Island contract, but that has now gone to Air NZ.

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koruman
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:42 pm

Quoting koruman (Reply 13):
is a poor fit for the Virgin model
Quoting mariner (Reply 22):
Hawaiian Airlines does okay on US/Tahiti and I would suggest there is little to choose between their service and the new-fashioned Virgin Australia - if anything the guernsey goes to the Aussie airline

Over 85% of Hawaiian's passengers on HNL-PPT are Tahitians going to Honolulu to shop - it is not a route which provides any tangible inbound tourism for French Polynesia.

The French Pacific Franc is pegged to the Euro, so Tahitians have great buying power in Hawaii, while in French Polynesia sales taxes are immense.

Hawaiian's model fits, because the main destination for those Tahitian shoppers is the Wal-Mart behind Ala Moana. The Tahitians fly overnight up to Honolulu on the Saturday, and fly back home on the afternoon of the following Saturday.

But don't think that this model is a solution for filling around a thousand overwater bungalows on Bora Bora and Taha'a, because it really isn't.

Those bungalows need to be filled by people whose tax returns look like Mitt Romney's, who find an airline with a cabin which would tempt them to fly on it instead of in a private jet.
 
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:35 am

Quoting koruman (Reply 23):
Those bungalows need to be filled by people whose tax returns look like Mitt Romney's, who find an airline with a cabin which would tempt them to fly on it instead of in a private jet.

You clearly have a different view of what we might call the jetset from my own, and In have a fair experience of them. Some - but very few - of my acquaintances have tax returns that look like Mitt Romney's - (mine surely doesn't) - yet they are frequent visitors to Tahiti.

My experience of the well-heeled (as opposed to the mega-rich) is that they just as likely to look for deals as anyone else, it is simply that their deals are pitched at a somewhat higher level.

When I worked in Hollywood, I knew many people who were in love with Air NZ's flights to London, precisely because they could save a buck, especially in the pointy end - a point that you have frequently made.

It is the reason that so many in Hollywood embraced JetBlue - they were bored with being ripped off by the legacy carriers, where the supposed First Class had become minimalist. JetBlue achieved extraordinary awareness in a very short space of time. About six months after JetBlue started flying to LA - LGB not LAX - I was checking into the Four Seasons and the bloke in front of me, in an Armani suit, dropped a tiny headset from his pocket. The bell hop picked it up and, with a grin, handed it back to the man saying "JetBlue."

And what are the choices LAX-PPT? Hawaiian, Air France - which many of my American friends don't particularly like - or Air Tahiti Nui, which isn't doing all that well.

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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:18 am

Quoting koruman (Reply 13):
At the end of the cited article, Air New Zealand's Tahiti manager Christel Bole cautions that Tahiti is a poor fit for the Virgin model, as distances are much longer and low-cost fits poorly with the visitor demographic required for those hotels to make money.

Isn't AKL-PPT only about an hour longer than AKL-APW? And anyway, Virgin is increasingly unlike a traditional LCC.

Quoting koruman (Reply 13):
But at the point, I should sound a note of caution. Samoa's hotel inventory is all in the 2-4 star range, and an LCC model from Australia works well.

But the majority of French Polynesia's hotel inventory is 5 star overwater bungalows, with prevailing nightly rates around $1000.

So? You would think that if your theory were true (5 star hotels equals high-fare passengers = amazing yields) ATN would be doing great financially, Air France wouldn't be reducing the number of premium seats and NZ would still be plying PPt-LAX alongside maintaining a J class presence on AKL-PPT.

I think that logic has bee proven entirely untrue, especially wehn the Euro is plunging and European economies are flailing about.

Quoting zkojq (Reply 18):
That is the name that Pacific Blue should have been given after the re-branding, rather than just becoming another part of Virgin Australia.

Yeah, a shame that. Virgin Pacific would've been far more flexible. And just sounds nicer.

Quoting DJMEL (Reply 20):
May I point out to all that Virgin Australia is no longer a LCC, we have a lower cost base than QF, we now have a Business Class operating on the majority routes.

Agreed. an important distinction.

I think the Virgin idea should be seriously pursued.
 
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:21 am

Quoting ZuluAlpha (Reply 1):
This should be interesting to see if it goes ahead on two levels that I can see. The first why didn't TN approach QF (or did they and they knocked it back?) after all, there is an existing codeshare with QF via AKL and interline airfares with QF
Quoting DJMEL (Reply 20):
Mr Borghetti is a very smart man remember this EY were in bed with QF when he was EGM at QF now they are in bed with VIrgin Australia. so don't be surprised if TN cut all ties with QF - and defect to Virgin Australia and how ironic would that be seeing as TN used to be the code for Australian Airlines and Mr Borghetti used to work for QF!!!!

great response DJMEL. I was going to say the something.
Just because QF doesn't do something doesn't mean it's not a good idea.
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:05 am

I acknowledge many of the above points, but I must still partially rebutt them.

It's just a fact of life that much of French Polynesia's hotel inventory is in the $1000+ per night category, and airlines and the government just have to deal with it.

My Mitt Romney comment was partially in jest, but has a strong ring of truth to it. If you look at Bora Bora, the surviving hotels are:

Four Seasons
St Regis
InterContinental x 2
Sofitel x 2
Pearl Beach

The Novotel and Club Med failed some time ago. All the remaining hotels have 80% or more of their inventory as overwater bungalows.

Now sure, Mitt Romney probably vacations in a private jet. But tourists to those hotels I've listed are not going to get away with room and food and beverage payments of less than $1500 per night. It's just not going to happen.

I don't have the data, but several years ago I was shown projections by the then-Tahiti Tourisme which showed that the median American couple visiting Bora Bora was staying five nights and spending an average of $24,000 at that time.

Virgin Australia has moved sensibly to occupy some higher ground in the market, it's true. But nothing like high enough to address the French Polynesian government's need to get those overwater bungalows filled and the closed hotels (Hotel Bora Bora, Club Med, Orient-Express Lagoon Resort) reopened and restaffed.

One of my employers makes me travel to Sydney and Melbourne on the lowest fare of the day, and when it's on Virgin that means zero inclusions, not even drinks. So the Australians who might consider spending $20,000 per couple for a week in Bora Bora are still going to have a perception that Virgin occupies a lower market niche than Qantas.

Lastly, Borghetti knows very well what a useless investment Air Pacific has been for Qantas. And the slightest due diligence would show that Air Tahiti Nui is a lovely airline but a lousy business with staff enjoying French-style industrial entitlements which prevent any hope of turning a profit.

I love French Polynesia. I admire John Borghetti and his re-orientation of Virgin Australia. But their chances of a successful marriage are about the same as the chances of Clive James and Britney Spears getting married and living happily ever after.
 
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:05 am

Quoting koruman (Reply 27):
I acknowledge many of the above points, but I must still partially rebutt them.

This can go on forever, we both have a different view of tourism, especially in the Pacific and obviously high-end.

I'll simply point out the number of high-ish rise hotels (four floors) in Tahiti, which are, obviously, not overwater. And remember the several quite wealthy American women I know who don't like the overwater bungalows and regard them as the hang-outs of the tasteless nouveau riche.

Quoting koruman (Reply 27):
I don't have the data, but several years ago I was shown projections by the then-Tahiti Tourisme which showed that the median American couple visiting Bora Bora was staying five nights and spending an average of $24,000 at that time.

No wonder they have problems filling the overwater bungalows. For half that money - then - you could get the really exclusive Pacific resorts or an entire house on the really exclusive St. Barts (where there are few hotels) or the even more exclusive Mustique (where there are even fewer hotels - one, with seventeen rooms) - the villa the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are renting now (with full staff) is only $24,000 a week.

Which is the way most of the really rich prefer - renting private villas with a full staff. It's the way my rich chums do it and in 2009 you could have Necker Island, the whole island, for only $51000 a night - for up to 28 people - and you can't get there First Class on any airline:

http://www.neckerisland.virgin.com/r...free_night_offer_until_31mar09.pdf

The Necker Island exclusive use rate starts from USD $51,000 per night for up to 28 guests."

As to airlines, my Australian business partner used to own and manage Vatuele - in Fiji - which wasn't cheap and I know how very few of the rich who stayed there came to Fiji on private jets. They were quite happy with Air Pacific which is not truly high end even at the pointy end.

I am also scratching me head about this:

Quoting koruman (Reply 23):
Over 85% of Hawaiian's passengers on HNL-PPT are Tahitians going to Honolulu to shop - it is not a route which provides any tangible inbound tourism for French Polynesia.

I can't imagine why anyone resident on a tropical resort island would go to another tropical resort island - to shop. If the US dollar exchange rate is the attraction, why not go to Los Angeles where the shopping is more extensive and cheaper and the food is much, much better.

I know that when I lived in the tropical resorts - first Acapulco and then St. Martin - the last place we wanted to go was another resort, we wanted to get away from them.

Quoting koruman (Reply 27):
Lastly, Borghetti knows very well what a useless investment Air Pacific has been for Qantas. And the slightest due diligence would show that Air Tahiti Nui is a lovely airline but a lousy business with staff enjoying French-style industrial entitlements which prevent any hope of turning a profit.

And Polynesian was losing money - until it became Polynesian Blue (now Virgin Samoa).

I have no idea if this deal will happen, it may well be someone's pipe dream. But I don't understand your antipathy to it.

mariner

[Edited 2012-01-24 22:25:39]
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:15 am

Quoting EK413 (Reply 8):
Virgin Pacific sounds better to me

Almost but lets not forget the french.
how about "virgin pacifique"
 
koruman
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:01 am

Mariner, we're slightly at cross purposes here, and I started it with my Mitt Romney quip.

The Tahiti Tourisme figure of $24,000 per US couple across 5 days on Bora Bora wasn't all accommodation charges, notionally it would have meant $9K on accommodation, $3K on food and beverage, $2K on excursions and $10K on black pearl jewelry, for example.

The kind of demographic they have sought to attract has been American couples earning above $400,000 per year, with a significant number of the Pierce Brosnan / Nicole Kidman demographic included in that.

I'm not defending the fact that an absurd tax law encouraged people to build far too many overwater bungalow hotels and to put all their eggs in the inbound US tourism market. It's just that that's what the majority of the hotel inventory now is. And the high-rise hotels (Tahiti Inter-Continental, Le Meridien and Sofitel) are all on the main island and are really just transit properties, which earn half their revenue at the weekend when the local elite go there for big dinner functions.

Quoting koruman (Reply 23):
Over 85% of Hawaiian's passengers on HNL-PPT are Tahitians going to Honolulu to shop - it is not a route which provides any tangible inbound tourism for French Polynesia.

The French Pacific Franc is pegged to the Euro, so Tahitians have great buying power in Hawaii, while in French Polynesia sales taxes are immense.

Hawaiian's model fits, because the main destination for those Tahitian shoppers is the Wal-Mart behind Ala Moana. The Tahitians fly overnight up to Honolulu on the Saturday, and fly back home on the afternoon of the following Saturday.
Quoting mariner (Reply 28):
I can't imagine why anyone resident on a tropical resort island would go to another tropical resort island - to shop. If the US dollar exchange rate is the attraction, why not go to Los Angeles where the shopping is more extensive and cheaper and the food is much, much better.

Because, like me, they're as common as muck and not as sophisticated as some!

Hawaiians go to Las Vegas when they could go to San Francisco. Tahitians go to Hawaii. I live on the Gold Coast, and holiday in Hawaii and Tahiti! When I take my kids to visit relatives in the UK we go to Blackpool for the day. I used to be embarrassed about my vulgar tastes, but now I just accept that I am what I am!

I can put that in more politically correct terms if you like.......

The weekly Saturday HNL-PPT-HNL rotation allows Tahitians to take a nice, neat week or two off work. They could go to Honolulu or LA, but Hawaiian Airlines offer them two free checked bags and fares are around 40% lower than to Los Angeles.

But in addition, the Tahitians who go to Hawaii go there often, anything up to three times per year, and they quickly become familiar with the place and feel at home in familiar surroundings. Like the Tahitians, I go to the Wal-Mart next to Ala Moana several times per year, and I ALWAYS hear Tahitians there - it's the demographic who speak French among themselves, not Maohi - and there are often 2 or 3 extended families together as a group.

It's funny when I meet Tahitians in Hawaii or New Zealand, because they themselves describe themselves as feeling at home in part of Polynesia, even though they are in a land where their Hawaiian or Maori cousins are a tiny minority. That's why so many of them go to the Ellerslie Flower Show each year - they feel a sense of affiliation with New Zealand.
 
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mariner
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:52 am

Quoting koruman (Reply 30):
Mariner, we're slightly at cross purposes here, and I started it with my Mitt Romney quip.

We are certainly at cross purposes, but nothing to do with Mitt Romney. I thought you were talking about "the rich", but now you say you are only talking about the $400,000 per annum crowd.

And I have no idea why - given the alternatives - that crowd wouldn't be more than happy with the new Virgin Australia, pointy end.

Quoting koruman (Reply 30):
I'm not defending the fact that an absurd tax law encouraged people to build far too many overwater bungalow hotels and to put all their eggs in the inbound US tourism market. It's just that that's what the majority of the hotel inventory now is.

If it is that, then even at the accommodation plus food and beverage ($12,000 per five days), you're still better off at countless other resorts. And I would be quite shocked if every one of those tourists were spending $10,000 on black pearls. A few, yes, some, sure, but not every one.

Quoting koruman (Reply 30):
Because, like me, they're as common as muck and not as sophisticated as some!

Hawaiians go to Las Vegas when they could go to San Francisco. Tahitians go to Hawaii. I live on the Gold Coast, and holiday in Hawaii and Tahiti! When I take my kids to visit relatives in the UK we go to Blackpool for the day. I used to be embarrassed about my vulgar tastes, but now I just accept that I am what I am!

Why would you be embarrassed? I'll take a night in Marseilles before I'd take a night in Cannes or Nice, it;s much more fun and slightly dangerous.

I understand why you - living on the Gold Coast - holiday in Hawaii or Tahiti on vacation. I understand why you go to Blackpool, even if only for a day, on vacation. I understand why Hawaiians go to Las Vegas, if, as you say, they do, on vacation. I understand why some Tahitians go to Hawaii - on vacation - it is Polynesia and maybe they even think of it as Havaiki Nui, the myths run strong.

But it is my understanding that Hawaiian carries somewhat more than 15% connecting traffic - from US mainland through HNL to Tahiti. In the case of Hawaiian, it isn't just about HNL-PPT O&D.

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
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LAXintl
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:13 am

Seems to me this whole concept that Tahiti is for the rich jetset type is part of what is wrong today.

Tahiti until recent years was also a mass market tourist destination. There were folks like Corsair dropping 500 people at a time off a few times a week, AOM with its service, and charters from the West Coast (Hawaiian, ATA, Omni, United etc..) Sadly all these things have disappeared as the government tried to prop Air Tahiti Nui up.

Over time, Corsair was ran out, and its parent was denied permission to build a resort on the islands, AOM succumbed to its own issues, Club Med closed down, the cruise ships left, and charters from the West Coast dried up, and so did the fortunes of the hotels, pensions, transportation, shops and general economy in Tahiti that relied on such tourism earnings.

So whether a partnership with Virgin Australia is the right thing to do, anything that helps drive traffic to the islands and reduce the treasury bleeding is the right thing to do. Maybe such a partnership can help break the catch-22 logjam of recent years with millions of Pacific Francs being poured into ATN year after year with mounting losses while the nation is forced to prop up the airline due to lack of alternatives. At the very least I doubt it can be any worse then flying now costly A340s and not covering the fuel bill.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
koruman
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:35 am

I think LAXintl is right on the money.

Successive French and French Polynesian governments have been far too quick to give excessive tax concessions for construction of luxury resorts, while the 3 and 4 star hotels have been abandoned.

In the space of two decades there has been the loss of 3 Ibis and 5 Novotel hotels, 2 Club Meds, an Outrigger, 2 Sheratons, a Holiday Inn, the Bali Hai chain etc etc. There is no longer anywhere mid-range for tourists to stay on Moorea or Bora Bora without paying 5 star money for a 2 star experience.

Cooks Bay in Moorea is earth-shatteringly spectacular whether you are staying in luxury or not. But now it has only a rundown timeshare property and a shabby former 3 star hotel left.

So every egg has gone into the basket for extremely affluent American visitors, with no consideration for the risks of volatility in the US market.
 
AF Cabin Crew
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:28 am

O. Temaru, president of the government of French Polynesia said on TV last night that they have chosen to align themselves with oneworld. This choice will be confirmed at the next Board meeting on thursday.
Ia Maitai to tatou tere !
 
koruman
Posts: 2179
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:08 pm

RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:23 am

Quoting AF Cabin Crew (Reply 34):
O. Temaru, president of the government of French Polynesia said on TV last night that they have chosen to align themselves with oneworld

A very interesting choice.

I would have thought that the choice should have been driven by which US and Canadian carriers have the biggest footprint in the western half of the USA, as that is where they need to be sourcing passengers to fill those overwater bungalows. And that would mean Star Alliance.

OneWorld only makes sense if they are intending to instead prioritise Australia, Chile and Brazil. Those are countries with resilient economies, but it's still one huge leap of faith.
 
AF Cabin Crew
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RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:08 am

Star Alliance was not even considered according to him. It was between oneworld and skyTEAM.
Ia Maitai to tatou tere !
 
AF Cabin Crew
Posts: 930
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 1999 11:45 pm

RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:52 am

In the papers today, the CEO said that the board of directors hasn't confirmed the choice of oneworld at all. They are still reviewing oneworld and skyTEAM and will take a decision by the end of the month.
Ia Maitai to tatou tere !
 
kiwiandrew

RE: Tahiti Seeks Virgin Australia Investment

Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:42 am

Quoting AF Cabin Crew (Reply 37):
In the papers today, the CEO said that the board of directors hasn't confirmed the choice of oneworld at all. They are still reviewing oneworld and skyTEAM and will take a decision by the end of the month.

Regardless of what the board decide they still have to persuade the alliance of their choice to agree. They seem to be a lovely airline, but I am not sure that they have a lot to offer to a global alliance.

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