16 Dec 2008

French Polynesian Assembly votes to help Air Tahiti Nui

12:11 pm on 16 December 2008

The French Polynesian Assembly has voted to come to Air Tahiti Nui's rescue with a 17 million US dollar financial package.

The airline anticipated a year-end deficit of 54 million and a 2009 deficit of 23 million dollars.

Georges Puchon, who is the Tong Sang government's budget minister, explained to the assembly last week that the rescue package was aimed at guaranteeing that Air Tahiti Nui can continue to fly because banks were refusing to continue covering the debt.

But the government's 2009 budget, which faces a deadline of December the 31st for approval, is being held up by a resignation of an assembly member which has deprived President Gaston Tong Sang of his one-seat majority.

Pacific Magazine reports that Mr Puchon noted that 2008 had become a difficult year for Air Tahiti Nui, particularly in light of the recent global financial crisis that slowed down an already struggling tourism industry.