The former director of Air Tahiti behind the new Polynesian start-up

A trademark application filed by national Tahitian start-up Air Moana reportedly shows that the airline’s founder is Christian Vernaudon, a French Polynesian politician who is the former chairman and CEO of Polynesian national airline Air Tahiti.

French news site Overseas 360 indicates that the trademark application filed by Ntireva with the French Industrial Property Office shows that the company’s founder is Christian Vernaudon.

Natireva is the company creating Air Moana, a new domestic carrier that aims to start operations in April with three leased ATR 72s and two ATR 42s. It also plans to acquire three additional ATR 72-600s in 2023 and two additional ATR 42-600 STOLs in 2025.

Vernaudon was CEO and Chairman of Air Tahiti from 1985 to 2013.

He is also the former representative of French Polynesia on the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council between 1994 and 1999 and held the same position again from 2015 to 2020.

Overseas360 says Vernaudo is still a municipal councilor in Punaauia, a commune in the suburbs of Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia.

The airline’s social media shows that it is currently recruiting flight officers, cabin crew and captains for the ATR 42-600 and ATR 72-600.

It was reported that Air Moana aims to serve 21 destinations, in the period April-June 2022, including 12 under the free competition zones and nine destinations which will be open.

Its air carrier license was approved, but the government said it was just the first step in a series of approvals required to start flight operations. The airline has yet to obtain its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC).

The airline will compete with Air Tahiti and potentially another national start-up Motu Link Airline which has received an air carrier license but has not yet received its AOC.

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The government of French Polynesia approves the start of another airline (December 21, 2021)