Covid-19 fallout impacts Air Tahiti network

4:45 pm on 30 April 2020

French Polynesia's domestic airline Air Tahiti has cast doubt on resuming air links to all its destinations after the Covid-19 crisis.

Air Tahiti plane

Air Tahiti plane Photo: RNZI/Walter Zweifel

Its planes have been grounded since last month but the carrier's manager Manate Vivish told Radio1 the company managed to pay the salaries of its 1400 employees for March and April.

However, he said this wouldn't be possible in May and the company would need support.

It joined other airlines asking Paris to help it with loans as being offered to Air France.

With its fleet of mainly ATR planes, Air Tahiti had been flying to 48 islands, including nearly 30 in the Tuamotus alone.

Mr Vivish said the difficulties now are about 10 times worse than what was experienced after the great financial crisis just over a decade ago.

He said he believed the airline would survive but it wasn't clear to what extent the airline would be able to run unprofitable routes as a public service.

Mr Vivish said projections suggested it would take until 2023 to attain results achieved last year.

As international visitors accounted for almost half of its passengers, Mr Vivish hoped that more residents would be able to fly.

Meanwhile Air France deferred the restart of flights to Papeete for a third time and scheduled the resumption of services to the beginning of July.

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