Air Tahiti Nui supply flight stuck in Japan

4:20 pm on 5 April 2020

The French Polynesian government says the Air Tahiti Nui plane sent to pick up medical supplies from China last week is still in Japan.

It said the aircraft was at Narita airport awaiting clearance to fly to Shanghai and fetch the order needed to cope with the Covid-19 outbreak.

Air Tahiti Nui Boeing 787

Air Tahiti Nui Boeing 787 Photo: Copyright(2018)The Boeing Company

The flight was announced by the president Edouard Fritch last month when the expected supply from France was disrupted.

Meanwhile, the French High Commission in Papeete announced the French government had contracted Air Tahiti Nui to provide an air link between the French mainland and Tahiti.

It said seven French airlines were contacted to provide a temporary service for two months and possibly longer.

The statement said the flights were expected to run via Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean every 10 days and be funded by the French overseas ministry.

It planned to fly about 25 tonnes of medical supplies on each flight, and possibly carry out urgent evacuations.

The first such extraordinary flight is expected within days to also allow French residents stranded in Tahiti to fly home.

However the planes won't come back with French Polynesian residents for fear of spreading the Covid-19 virus.

The High Commission in Tahiti also said, since restrictions on meetings and movements were introduced two weeks ago, more than 1700 people had been fined for failing to produce a written attestation justifying their movement.

It said a further 600 people had been fined for breaching the curfew.

Several people have been jailed for crimes committed during the lockdown phase.

  • French Polynesian Covid-19 cases now at 39
  • French Polynesia Covid-19 cases now at 35
  • French Polynesia details emergency payments for Covid-19 impact
  • Curfew from tonight across all of French Polynesia