14 Jun 2010

More flights cancelled or deferred as French Polynesia strike reaches fourth day

10:06 am on 14 June 2010

The US consul in Tahiti has managed to charter a smaller plane for more than 40 people stuck in Papeete as a strike closing French Polynesia's international airport for jet aircraft is in its fourth day.

Christopher Kozely says more than 40 people could take an Air Tahiti turbo prop plane to the Cook Islands while thousands of travellers are stranded because of the strike by 11 unions and groups.

Affected passengers are in Paris, Los Angeles, Auckland and Tokyo in the biggest interruption to regional air travel since last disturbances caused by volcanic ash from Iceland.

Many of today's flights have been cancelled, including one from Auckland to Tahiti.

Today's Air Tahitu Nui flights to Los Angeles, Paris and Japan, are either cancelled or deferred for at least two days.

Negotiations are to resume today between the French Polynesian government and the union groups, demanding better provisions in the face of job losses.

The strike has also affected the port and the hospital in Papeete and in the Marquesas islands.