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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Nov. 15) – The French Civil Aviation Office has announced the start of aviation fuel restrictions at the Tahiti-Faa'a International Airport after a contaminated fuel delivery created a supply shortfall.

With the next delivery of aviation fuel scheduled for Nov. 19, but not available until Nov. 21, Air Tahiti Nui has already began taking precautionary measures. They include leaving Los Angeles for Papeete with all fuel tanks full, imposing an embargo on air freight, lowering flight weight to reduce fuel consumption and refusing to accept reduced fare tickets from its employees.

The Civil Aviation Office has asked the six regularly scheduled international airlines serving Tahiti to obtain fuel elsewhere and to regroup on one flight passengers booked on two flights headed for the same destination with similar departure times.

So far, none of the Air France, Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, Hawaiian Airlines, Air Caledonie International and LAN Airlines flights have had to be canceled. However, the situation is expected to increase the airlines' fuel bills.

There are 35 international departure flights scheduled from Nov. 14 through Nov. 20 at the Tahiti-Faa'a International Airport.

The Civil Aviation Office said Monday it was informed on Nov. 9 of a risk that the last delivery of aviation fuel might be contaminated. The office said it immediately informed all airlines of that risk.

Three days later, on Nov. 12, the oil companies officially announced that the delivered aviation fuel had been contaminated and, therefore, was not suitable for use. The Civil Aviation Office immediately created a crisis management group to control the consumption of the remaining supply of non-contaminated aviation fuel.

Measures are revised on a day-to-day basis in order to respect as much as possible the published schedule of international flights out of Tahiti.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Tahitipresse: www.tahitipresse.pf

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