Air Tahiti, an airline operating inter-island flights in French Polynesia, has received a new ATR 72-600 aircraft with a special livery that celebrates the ancestral tattooing traditions of this Pacific Ocean archipelago.
The design is the work of students and professors at the Centre des Métiers d’Art, an art school in Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia. It mixes several symbolic elements alluding to abstract concepts, such as life or the capacity to see the future, as well as to the Polynesian islands.
This is not the first Air Tahiti ATR aircraft to be decorated with tattoo-themed elements. But while previous designs have been limited mostly to the tail and rear section of the aircraft, the airline has opted for a larger and much more visible pattern covering much of the fuselage.
This aircraft, registered as F-ORVX, has been named “Atanua” (“rainbow”) and is the 12th ATR-family aircraft operated by Air Tahiti.
The 23,000-kilometer flight from ATR’s factory in Toulouse, France, and Faa’a International Airport, Papeete (PPT) required a five-day-long ferry flight with seven intermediate stops in Cairo (Egypt), Muscat (Oman), Hyberabad (India), Subang (Malaysia), Kupang (Indonesia), Cairns (Australia) and Nadi (Fiji).
Although technically a regional airline, Air Tahiti operates a network route that spans a territory comparable in size to the whole of Western Europe.