The Tahiti-Faa΄a Airport handled 286 fewer (-18 percent) international flights and 53,363 fewer (-18.5 percent) passengers during the first semester, the French Civil Aviation Office has reported.
The six-month activity reflected the tourism industry impact by the global financial crisis with Air New Zealand the only one of seven carriers serving Tahiti reporting an increase in passenger volume during the first six months of 2009.
Air NZ’s two weekly Auckland-Papeéte-Auckland flights carried 15,189 passengers, or 741 more (+5.1 percent) than the 14,448 passengers carried for the same period last year. However, the airline filled an average of 64.5 percent of its 23,556 available seats, compared with 60 percent of 24,091 available seats a year ago.
Air Tahiti Nui, the airline with the most flights (736) serving Tahiti, filled an average 74.5 percent of its 216,510 available seats. But the Papeéte-based carrier operated 252 fewer flights and offered 25.4 percent fewer seats.
By the end of June, ATN was operating seven weekly Papeéte-Los Angeles flights, five to seven weekly Papeéte-Los Angeles-Paris flights, three weekly Papeéte-Auckland flights and two weekly Papeéte-Tokyo flights.
A year ago ATN was also flying to Sydney, New York and Osaka. ATN continues to serve Sydney, but instead of non-stop flights it now has a code-share agreement with Qantas Airways on three weekly Auckland-Sydney flights.
Air France, with three weekly Papeéte-Los Angeles flights, had the highest average passenger load factor (86.2 percent) of the seven airlines during the first semester, but carried 15.3 percent fewer passengers (-7,096) and offered 18.3 percent fewer seats (-10,218).
During the month of June, the seven carriers operated 55 fewer flights (229 vs. 284), carried 18.5 percent fewer passengers (44,133 vs. 54,511) and offered 21.2 percent fewer seats (60,522 vs. 76,829). The average passenger load factor of 72.9 percent was slightly higher than the 71 percent a year ago, according to the Civil Aviation Office statistics.
Air Tahiti Nui carried 14.8 percent fewer passengers with 22 percent fewer seats in June from a year ago, but filled an average 75.3 percent of those seats compared with 69.7 percent a year ago.
Air France, with 24 total flights instead of the 36 a year ago, carried 37.9 percent fewer passengers with 35.5 percent fewer seats and had a slightly lower passenger load factor this June (82.8 percent vs. 85.9 percent).