Cargo plane irks French Polynesia shippers

12:24 pm on 5 May 2020

Shipping companies in French Polynesia say the French government's use of a military cargo plane hurts their business in times of crisis.

French military cargo A400M plane

French military cargo A400M plane Photo: supplied FB

Since last month, an A400M has been based in Tahiti as part of France's Operation Resilience to counter the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

When the plane was deployed it was said to offer cargo flights and provide medical evacuations, and if necessary be used for flights to New Zealand

After the A400M flew cargo to the Marquesas, the Tuamotus and the Austral islands, 10 private shipping companies wrote to the French High Commissioner Dominique Sorain to seek a meeting and an explanation.

According to the La Depeche de Tahiti, the companies said the flights went against hopes of the shipping companies of keeping their staff and maintaining their services.

The High Commission had said the flights were the result of several actors working together, with island mayors filing their needs to the government and the High Commission.

It also said that the flights wouldn't substitute the existing services but they dealt with urgent needs.

The cargo plane is scheduled to be in French Polynesia for a month.