AGREEMENT ON AIR TAHITI NUI FLIGHTS TO PARIS

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TAHITI, French Polynesia (July 9, 2001 – Tahitipresse)---The Assembly of French Polynesia voted Monday to approve two bills aimed at solving air service difficulties between Paris and Pape’ete resulting from French airline AOM’s bankruptcy proceedings.

The bills allow for the establishment of "Tahiti Nui Manureva," a publicly owned establishment in charge "of supporting international air service from French Polynesia." They also permit the establishment of a new tax for the "support of the public air transport industry."

The 29 members of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira majority party voted for the two bills, which were supported by French Polynesia President Gaston Flosse.

The seven members of the Fetia Api party of Boris Léontieff voted against the bill.

The 13 members of Oscar Temaru’s pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira party abstained.

A French Court will settle AOM’s fate July19th.

AOM flights to Pape’ete may not continue afterwards.

The government of French Polynesia wants Air Tahiti Nui to replace AOM on the Pape’ete-Paris line starting September 15th.

"Our country needs at least three weekly flights between Pape’ete and Paris in addition to the current Air France and Corsair flights. A very significant increase in the number of seats offered for Tahiti is necessary for the future growth of our tourism industry," said President Flosse.

Underlining the importance of tourism for French Polynesia, he said: "We had 258,000 tourists in 2000. We hope to have 350,000 tourists in 2005, and that will generate 60 billion French Pacific francs for French Polynesia (about US$ 444.5 million).

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