Auckland, New Zealand: Air Tahiti Nui has successfully won a bid to the Ministry of Transport to reignite connectivity between New Zealand and Tahiti by providing weekly air freight services commencing 10 June.
General Manager Pacific Daniel Eggenberger says, "The announcement is a 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."
Daniel says these weekly services are scheduled to arrive in Auckland every Thursday late morning and depart just after midday on the same day. The services will connect New Zealand primary producers with Tahiti and serve as a transit point for freight from other sectors within the USA and Europe via Air Tahiti Nui's Papeete - Los Angeles and Paris services. There is also the possibility that the Auckland-Papeete services are available to passengers on an adhoc basis and depending on demand.
In evaluating the proposal, a 20-year record of connecting Kiwi trade with Tahiti and beyond demonstrated the high demand for air freight services on this route. 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.
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.
Each weekly service will offer New Zealand trade a 24.2 tonne opportunity to move their products into key markets.
Roughly 60% of these export loads will take advantage of the Papeete hub for onward connection to our principal trading markets of the USA and Europe.
Key exports from New Zealand to Tahiti are predominantly those of our primary producers and include; meat, meat products, daity, fruit, flowers and air freighted livestock, especially poultry.
Furthermore, these services will enable New Zealand producers and manufacturers to connect with a NZ$3.8bn export market and fulfil reliance on a NZ$9bn import market between New Zealand and Europe. Of equal importance is the renewed connectivity between New Zealand and its NZ$11bn USA market.
Daniel says the opening of air freight services marks a significant development in the resumption of operations from New Zealand, which will have far-reaching benefits throughout the economy and supply chain.
While the French Polynesian border remains closed to New Zealand, passengers can apply for exceptional circumstances to travel for repatriation, family or medical evacuation reasons. It is hoped that essential passenger movements may resume by mid-late July. New Zealand based passengers wishing to connect with the airline regarding this are invited to email: TNres.firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Air Tahiti Nui cargo operations including the flight schedule and contact details for this new service please click here.