twelve atolls on which there exist appropriate
means of accommodation for tourists are all
within reach of air transport facilities. It is
worth mentioning that by 1998, 31 out of the 74
atolls and islands in the archipelago
already possessed aerodromes
the air communications system.
terms of the number of flight arrivals and
departures per atoll in 1998, the situation is as
Manihi, Arutua, Tikehau and Fakarava were the most
frequently served atolls, with 3 593, 1 032, 576,
522 and 471 scheduled flights. The landings which
occur on Hao involve non-civilian, especially
freight aircraft, and have therefore not been
included in the number of tourist flights.
following map shows the increase in the number of
passenger arrivals + departures (A+D) which
occurred between 1989 and 1998:
of all the aerodromes on the archipelago, the
passenger traffic showed an unprecedented increase
to 718%. Only three atolls obtained negative scores
(shown in blue on the map), including
Anuanuraro and Hikueru, where no flights were
running in1996 and 1998.
general trend is confirmed by the graph on the
archipelago as a whole, rather just the atolls, in
which the density of the air traffic is given in
millions of passenger-kilometers transported. This
information was provided by the department
"Statistiques du trafic aérien en Polynésie
française - 1997" and interpreted by G.
Blanchet at the I.R.D.
curves on the graph show that the number of
passengers carried progressed steadily throughout
the period under consideration. It can be seen from
the map and from the results of the study carried
out on the atoll resources that the pattern of
growth was stronger in the Northern
Tuamotu sector, where 73% of all the air
traffic was concentrated in 1998.
of the factors contributing to this growth was the
modernisation of the fleet of aircraft. 95% of all
the flights were being carried out in 1998 by
aircraft of the TRA type (turbo-aircraft with 46 to
66 seats), as compared with only 86% in 1988, when
Dornier planes (228 twin engine 18-seaters) were
still carrying 14% of all the traffic. The older
aircraft are still running between the islands of
the archipelago, especially between Hao and the
Eastern Tuamotu, which do not have suitable runways
to be able to handle larger aircraft.
There are three airline companies operating in the
Tuamotu-Gambier archipelago. The largest of these is
"Air Tahiti" , a subsidiary of the
international company "Air Tahiti Nui".
This company handles most of the passenger transport
(including that of both residents and tourists) as
well as the freight transport.
proof of its dynamism, in
1999, "Air Tahiti Nui" acquired an
A340-200 Airbus, which has since then been carrying
company's scheduled flights between
Papeete and Los Angeles and Papeete and
company "Wan Air" is owned by Mr. R. Wan,
the main black pearl producer in Tahiti. This
company's fleet of aircraft is used to run Mr. Wan's
pearl farms, especially at Les Gambiers in Southern
Marutea. They sometime assist the third airline
company, "Air Ararchipelagos",
with their tourist charter flights, however.