AIR TAHITI NUI PARIS FLIGHTS ATTACKED BY FRENCH AIRLINE AOM

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PAPE‘ETE, Tahiti (September 6, 2001 - Tahitipresse/PINA Nius Online)---The French airline AOM is openly at war with the French Polynesian government over Air Tahiti Nui's plans to begin Pape‘ete-Paris flights.

Jean-Charles Corbet, the new AOM manager, said he wants "to fight" the Air Tahiti Nui project, saying it would jeopardize AOM's and Air France's futures on the route.

He added that Air Tahiti Nui is just "a toy" for French Polynesia President Gaston Flosse.

The "AOM-Air Liberté" company filed for bankruptcy June 15th and has been run, since July 27th, by the Holco group.

Mr. Flosse, who was in Japan promoting Air Tahiti Nui's launch of a second weekly flight to Tokyo in mid-2002, commented: "I don't understand how M. Corbet can say that Air Tahiti Nui's two weekly flights to Paris can jeopardize AOM's future.

"When the Holco group took over AOM, in July, we proposed to take care of the Pape‘ete-Paris line. We even had discussions to establish code-share programs between Air France, AOM and Air Tahiti Nui.

"I've already said that some additional Pape‘ete-Paris lines were needed for the new hotels about to be built in French Polynesia. That is why we thought about a code-share agreement.

"I even had an appointment with AOM's officials this week, in Paris, on this issue. If M. Corbet wants us to wage a war against another company, we will do it. This is not what I wish, but if I have no other choice, I will do it."

Meanwhile, Air Tahiti Nui's Airbus A-340 had a problem with its landing gear on its way back from Japan and is stuck in Pape‘ete for two days waiting for parts.

Air Tahiti Nui plans to acquire a second Airbus as part of plans to inaugurate services to Paris.

For additional reports from Tahiti Press, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Sources: Agence Tahitienne de Presse.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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