19 Sep 2003

French top official discusses airport issues with French Polynesia

3:43 pm on 19 September 2003

A top French official has begun talks in Papeete to discuss the possible transfer of the running of the territory's airports to the French Polynesian authorities.

Dominique Bussereau, who is secretary of state in the transport ministry, is looking at the issue as part of the French Polynesian move to get constitutional changes for greater autonomy.

At stake is a way of defining how the responsibilities for the airports can be shared, and Mr Bussereau says a consensual solution is being sought.

The French state would retain control over the facilities pertaining to the military and assets needed for air safety.

The territorial president, Gaston Flosse, says the transport portfolio has some of the most important elements towards helping French Polynesia's economic development.