Air Tahiti Nui is returning to New Zealand with freight services from next month.
It will fly from Auckland to Tahiti and beyond to the United States and Europe once a week.
Freight services will begin on June 10 after the airline won a New Zealand government freight scheme bid.
There was also the possibility that the Auckland-Papeete services could be available to passengers on ”an ad-hoc basis and depending on demand.”
General manager Pacific, Daniel Eggenberger, said winning the bid wasa lifeline to the
airline’s New Zealand operations as well as New Zealand trade.
”The much-publicised disruption to the domestic supply chain can in part be attributed to the depletion of air cargo services connecting key markets, and we are very pleased to now be in a position to assist this.”
Eggenberger said the weekly services are scheduled to arrive and depart Auckland every Thursday in the early afternoon.
The services will connect New Zealand primary producers with Tahiti and serve as a transit point for freight from other sectors with the US and Europe via Air Tahiti Nui’s Papeete – Los Angeles and Paris services.
The airline had a 20-year record of connecting Kiwi trade with Tahiti and beyond.
”Given that the commercial viability of air freight hinges on the delivery of passenger services, subsidised services are needed to facilitate the delivery of one part of the airline’s operational equation,” Eggenberger said.
The resumption of weekly air cargo services in June comes off 14 months through the
pandemic, which saw the airline operate only four flights on the Auckland – Papeete route.
Before the pandemic, Air Tahiti flew three times a week between Auckland and Papeete using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which it introduced to the route in 2018.
Each weekly service has 24.2-tonnes of cargo capacity.
Roughly 60 per cent of these exports will be flown on to the US and Europe.
Key exports from New Zealand to Tahiti include; meat, meat products, dairy, fruit, flowers and air freighted livestock, especially poultry.
Eggenberger said the opening up of air freight services marks a significant development in the resumption of operations from New Zealand, which would have far-reaching benefits throughout the economy and supply chain.
A number of airlines will have been paid $542 million by the Government to keep freight operations going through to October.
Air New Zealand, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, China Southern and Malaysian Airlines have been part of the scheme.
While the French Polynesian border remains closed to New Zealand, passengers can apply for exceptional circumstances for travel for repatriation, or family or medical evacuation reasons.
It is hoped that essential passenger movements may be resumed by mid-late July.
New Zealand based passengers wishing to connect with the airline regarding this are invited to email: [email protected]
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