6 Nov 2003

French Polynesian government expands air services in Marquesas

2:23 pm on 6 November 2003

The French Polynesian government has expanded air services in the Marquesas group of islands with the launch of a 19-seater Twin Otter plane for interisland flights.

The plane will be serviced by Air Tahiti which has based three pilots and two mechanics on Hiva-Oa.

The president of the territorial government, Gaston Flosse, says the Twin Otter can be used on short runways and allow air services to Ua Pou and Ua Huka.

He says the plane will make it easier to carry out medical evacuations and searches at sea as it will help develop tourism.

Mr Flosse has also vowed to build runways on Tahuata and Fatu Hiva.

He says although he cannot give a date they will be built irrespective of costs or technical difficulties.