8 Jun 2005

France agrees to subsidise Air Tahiti Nui's 5th Airbus purchase

2:42 pm on 8 June 2005

The French government has agreed to subsidise the purchase of a fifth Airbus by French Polynesia's carrier Air Tahiti Nui with a contribution of 30 million US dollars.

This amounts to nearly 30 percent of the price of the A340 plane which is due in Tahiti this month for the launch of a new service to Sydney and New York.

The French Polynesian government says the support from Paris shows that relations with France are being normalised.

The French government is allied with the former leadership in Papeete which is now in opposition.

The airline has meanwhile announced a drop in profits to below two million dollars which it attributes to higher fuel costs.

It says it had an average load factor of 68 percent and carried 470,000 passengers last year.