AIR TAHITI NUI, AIR LIB TO CODE-SHARE ON TAHITI-PARIS ROUTE

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PAPE'ETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (December 5, 2001 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---French Polynesia President Gaston Flosse and French airline Air Lib's chairman Jean-Charles Corbet on Tuesday agreed to a code-share agreement on the crucial Paris-Pape'ete route, RFO reports.

They also agreed, in principle, to a direct link to Paris for French Polynesia's international airline, Air Tahiti Nui (ATN).

This is the first time ATN is being allowed to fly directly to Paris.

The decision came after tense negotiations between the two airlines over the past few weeks and the recent announcement that France would contribute 40 percent of the purchase cost of another Airbus A340 for ATN.

The brand new plane is currently being prepared at Airbus's Toulouse factory with ATN's colors.

ATN also will lease an additional Airbus.

Both new aircraft are to be commissioned during the first quarter of 2002.

Corbet said after the talks that his company, which in August was on the verge of bankruptcy, would probably reduce its current flight frequency to French Polynesia.

"But if French Polynesia achieves what it seeks, that is increased traffic, a boost to tourism and development, then we won't even have to reduce these frequencies because traffic will be enough for everyone," he told RFO.

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