US-bound repatriation flight organised in Tahiti

5:56 pm on 11 April 2020

A repatriation flight is being organised in French Polynesia for mainly travellers from the United States stranded because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The US consulate in Tahiti said the charter flight was planned for Monday to allow about 200 people to fly to Hawaii.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-100 aircraft as seen on final approach landing with landing gear down at New York JFK John F. Kennedy International Airport on 14 November 2019 in New York, US.

Photo: AFP

A Delta Air Lines plane was being readied which would also be available for travellers from Australia, New Zealand and Mexico as they were likely to have onward connections.

The consulate said the flight might not suit European travellers because connecting flights were less likely to be assured.

The flight, which was a private initiative, was said to be 95 percent certain to go ahead as outstanding administrative matters needed to resolved.

120 people were reported to have so far signed up for the flight.

Earlier, some of the stranded US travellers organised a flight to get from the Marquesas Islands to Tahiti.

Commercial flights from Papeete to Honolulu, by Hawaiian Airlines, and to San Francisco by United Airlines, were stopped last month when travel restrictions were tightened.

Air Tahiti Nui, Air France and French Bee, which used to fly to California, also suspended their services.

Stranded travellers from Europe had been able to use the emergency service put up by the French government which contracted Air Tahiti Nui to fly via Guadeloupe to Paris.

The Air Tahiti Nui plane would keep flying passengers to France but until the Covid-19 emergency is lifted, it won't carry any French Polynesian resident wanting to return.