Tahiti gets more supplies as stranded passengers keep waiting

4:44 pm on 24 April 2020

Another special flight from France has arrived in French Polynesia amid suggestions that the promised repatriation of residents stranded because of the Covid-19 outbreak may again be deferred.

Air Tahiti Nui's new jet, a Boeing Dreamliner, in Tahiti

Photo: Supplied

The chartered Air Tahiti Nui airliner landed in Tahiti with 120 cubic metres of freight and 25 passengers who had been in France for medical treatment.

A senior French High Commission official said there was a huge demand for freight to be flown to Tahiti as usually about 1200 tons were brought in every month.

He said passengers might be allowed to fly back to Tahiti on a case by case basis, but freight

would remain a priority.

This contrasted with the undertaking by the French Polynesian health minister that about 100 stranded residents could get onto each of the weekly relief flights.

The official said talks were also being held between the High Commission and the French Polynesian government about the rotation of thousands of French public servants, policemen and military personnel.

Meanwhile more relief supplies were expected the day after tomorrow when the French military sends a large Airbus cargo plane to Tahiti.

The aircraft is to be available for deployment to the outer islands as well as to other Pacific countries.

Further medical supplies were still expected to be picked up in China.

A first flight from Shanghai arrived after delays two weeks ago and was only made possible thanks of the role assumed by the head of a Chinese company Tahiti Nui Ocean Foods which plans to build a fish farm on Hao atoll.

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