French military plane arrives in Tahiti for use in Pacific

2:25 pm on 27 April 2020

A French military cargo plane has landed in Tahiti which the French High Commissioner says might be used for flights to New Zealand.

The Airbus A400M brought urgently needed supplies to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak, such as ventilators and materials for hospitals, as well as cash.

The plane flew from Orleans via Canada and Hawaii with crews who had been in two weeks' isolation and cleared Covid-19 tests before their departure.

The aircraft was sent as part of President Emmanuel Macron's Operation Resilience and will be in French Polynesia for a month to help with logistics throughout the island groups.

The French High Commissioner to French Polynesia Dominique Sorain said the plane could provide medical evacuations in special circumstances, and if necessary be used for flights to New Zealand.

The French High Commission in Papeete, French Polynesia

The French High Commission in Papeete, French Polynesia Photo: RNZI/Walter Zweifel

Domestic flights are still suspended but Air Tahiti and Air Archipel planes had been used to fly patients to Tahiti.

Last week, the health minister Jacques Raynal said the circulation of Covid-19 had been stopped.

57 people tested positive for the virus and one is in hospital care.

The French military flight was the fourth supply flight to Tahiti since restrictions were imposed.

The three other flights to bring in freight, including medical supplies, were carried out by Air Tahiti Nui which flew to Paris twice and to Shanghai once.

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