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Three major airlines operate in French Polynesia: Air Tahiti Nui is French Polynesia's national flag carrier, Air Tahiti, Wan Air; all operate from Faa'a International Airport near Papeete. The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation French Polynesia is the regulatory body for aviation and SETIL airports manages the air navigation.
Airports in French Polynesia
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Although there is something called an Open Skies agreement on the North Atlantic, there are still considerable restrictions on market access. The agreement between the EU and the US allows airlines from both sides to fly on any route and with no capacity limits between Europe and the US. There is now a similar agreement between the EU and Canada.
However, there is only a very small number of airlines operating passenger routes on the North Atlantic that are not based in either Europe or North America. For all the progress in liberalising market access within the EU and between the EU and North America, this highlights the considerable restrictions that still impede market access on a global basis.
According to OAG data, airlines from other regions operate only 2.5% of seats between Europe and North America in Feb-2016. This share falls to 1.4% in Aug-2016. This report presents the details of the eight airlines and 13 passenger routes involved. To put these numbers into context, OAG data indicate that in Aug-2016 there will be a total of 49 airlines and 458 routes between Europe and North America.
Air Tahiti Nui plans metal neutral alliance with Air France and partners as losses continue to mount
Air Tahiti Nui has announced a planned deeper alliance with Air France on the Los Angeles-Paris CDG route and is rolling out a refurbished fleet of A340-300 aircraft to allow it to compete better with rival South Pacific carriers. But profits remain elusive for the heavily indebted carrier which survives with the support of its French Polynesian Government majority owner, which appears to be resisting a much needed restructuring of the airline.
The far flung archipelago territory’s tourism industry is slowly recovering from the effects of the global financial crisis which saw visitor numbers fall more than 40%. But while French Polynesia is benefitting from growth in tourism from Australasians eager to venture beyond Fiji, the bigger spending European market remains in decline.
Air Tahiti Nui is also facing tougher competition from a rejuvenating Air Pacific, as well as Hawaiian Airlines which has launched services to Australia and New Zealand. All provide connections to the United States and in the case of Hawaiian, as far afield as New York, making each an attractive option for an island stop-over.