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Fa'a'ā International Airport (French: Aéroport international de Tahiti Fa'a'ā), also known as Tahiti International Airport (IATA: PPT, ICAO: NTAA), is the international airport of French Polynesia, located in the commune of Fa'a'ā, on the island of Tahiti. It is situated 5 km (3.1 mi) southwest of Papeete, the capital city of the overseas collectivity.[1] It opened in 1960. Regional air carrier Air Tahiti and international air carrier Air Tahiti Nui are both based at the airport.[3]

Fa'a'ā International Airport

Aéroport international de Tahiti Fa'a'ā
Aéroport international Tahiti Faa'a.JPG
Fa'a'ā International Airport in 2006
Airport typePublic
OperatorSETIL – Aéroports
ServesTahiti, French Polynesia, France
Hub for
Elevation AMSL2 m / 5 ft
Coordinates17°33′24″S 149°36′41″W / 17.55667°S 149.61139°W / -17.55667; -149.61139Coordinates: 17°33′24″S 149°36′41″W / 17.55667°S 149.61139°W / -17.55667; -149.61139
NTAA is located in Tahiti
Location in Tahiti
NTAA is located in French Polynesia
NTAA (French Polynesia)
NTAA is located in Oceania
NTAA (Oceania)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
04/22 3,420 11,220 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Passenger traffic change 15–16Increase 4.1%
Sources: French AIP[1] Aé[2]



Fa'a'ā International Airport serves both domestic and international flights. Air Tahiti has daily flights to most other islands in French Polynesia and one international service to the Cook Islands. There are intercontinental flights to Chile, Metropolitan France, Japan, New Zealand and the United States. The airport is on Tahiti, which is an island among the Windward Islands, the eastern part of the Society Islands. Because of limited level terrain, rather than leveling large stretches of sloping agricultural land, the airport is built primarily on reclaimed land on the coral reef just offshore.

The airport is operated by Setil Aéroports and has a single 3,420 m (11,220 ft) runway,[1] that can accommodate aircraft up to Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 size.


Prior to the construction of the airport, Papeete was served by Short Sandringham "Bermuda" flying boat seaplanes operated by Reseau Aerien Interinsulaire (RAI). There was a connecting service via Bora Bora Airport (BOB) to Los Angeles with an en route stop in Honolulu flown by Transports Aeriens Intercontinentaux (TAI), which was serving Bora Bora in 1960 with Douglas DC-7C propliners.[4] Later the same year, following the opening of the new airport, TAI began serving Papeete directly with DC-7C flights once a week on a round trip routing of Nouméa (NOU) – Nadi (NAN) – Papeete (PPT) – Honolulu (HNL) – Los Angeles (LAX).[5] U.S. based air carrier South Pacific Air Lines was also serving Papeete in 1960, with weekly nonstop flights to Honolulu operated with Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation propliners.[6] By 1962, South Pacific was operating weekly nonstop Super Constellation service to Pago Pago in America Samoa in addition to its flights to Honolulu.[7]

Transports Aériens Intercontinentaux then introduced Douglas DC-8 jet service and in 1962 was operating nonstop DC-8 flights to Los Angeles, Honolulu and Nadi. The latter flight continued on to Nouméa, with connecting DC-8 service being flown to Paris via Nouméa in association with Air France via a number of intermediate stops en route.[8] TAI subsequently merged with Union Aeromaritime de Transport in 1963 to form Union de Transports Aeriens (UTA), which in turn continued to serve Papeete with DC-8 jet flights. In 1964, UTA was operating nonstop DC-8 service to Los Angeles, Honolulu and Nadi as well as direct one stop service to Nouméa, with the flights to Los Angeles offering connecting service to and from Air France nonstop flights between LAX and Paris Orly Airport (ORY).[9]

By the mid 1960s, Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) was operating nonstop Boeing 707 jetliner flights to Los Angeles and Auckland, with direct one stop service to San Francisco via Los Angeles, and also direct to Honolulu via a stop at Pago Pago in American Samoa.[10] By 1976, Pan Am was operating direct 707 service once a week to Dallas/Fort Worth and on to New York JFK Airport via stops in Pago Pago and Honolulu, and by 1979 was operating all of its flights from the airport with Boeing 747 wide body aircraft.[11][12]

LAN-Chile, the predecessor of LATAM Chile, introduced Douglas DC-6B propliner service between the airport and Santiago, Chile via a stop at Easter Island during the late 1960s, and by 1970 was operating Boeing 707 jet service from Santiago via Easter Island to Papeete, with direct connecting 707 service via its Santiago hub from Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro in South America as well as from Madrid, Paris and Frankfurt in Europe.[13] LATAM Chile currently flies the Papeete – Easter Island – Santiago route with Boeing 787 aircraft.[14]

In 1970, Union de Transports Aériens was operating all flights into the airport with long range Douglas DC-8-62 jetliners.[15] UTA then introduced McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 wide body jet service between Papeete and Los Angeles during the mid 1970s.[16] By 1979, UTA was operating all of its Papeete flights with DC-10-30 jets, with nonstops to Los Angeles, Auckland and Nadi, and direct one stop service to Sydney and Nouméa as well as multistop service to Jakarta, Singapore, Bahrain and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG).[17] In 1983, UTA was operating Boeing 747 service into the airport in addition to its DC-10-30 flights.[18]

The airport was previously served by several other international airlines, including AOM French Airlines and Qantas, with flights not only to their respective home countries but also to Los Angeles.[19] In 1965, Qantas was also operating a service it called the "Fiesta Route" with a Boeing 707 flying round trip once a week on a routing of SydneyNadi – Papeete – AcapulcoMexico CityNassauBermudaLondon Heathrow Airport.[20] By 1991, French air carrier Minerve (airline) was operating McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 service once a week on a routing of Papeete - San Francisco - Paris Orly Airport.[21]

Air New Zealand has served Tahiti for many years and was operating Douglas DC-8 jet service in 1968 with a routing of Auckland – Papeete – Los Angeles.[22] In 1983, Air New Zealand was operating direct one stop, no change of plane Boeing 747 service twice a week between London Gatwick Airport (LGW) and Papeete via Los Angeles.[23] By 1987, the airline was operating weekly nonstop Boeing 747 service to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) with this flight originating in Auckland and continuing on to London Gatwick (LGW) from DFW.[24] Air New Zealand currently operates nonstop Boeing 787-9 service several days a week between the airport and Auckland.[25]

According to the Official Airline Guide (OAG), by the 1980s and 1990s, major air carriers serving Papeete primarily operated wide body jetliners such as the Boeing 747-100, 747-200 (including B747-200 passenger/freighter combi aircraft), 747-300, 747-400, 767-300 or McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 on their flights.

South Pacific Island Airways served the airport during the early 1980s with nonstop Boeing 707 flights to Honolulu.[18] Also during the early 1980s,, Air New Zealand, Polynesian Airlines and UTA were all operating Boeing 737-200 service to Papeete from several South Pacific island locations including Apia, Nadi, Niue and Rarotonga while local Tahiti-based air carrier Air Polynesia (also known as Air Polynesie and now Air Tahiti) was serving a number of islands in French Polynesia with Fairchild F-27, Fokker F27 and de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter turboprop aircraft . [26] Hawaiian Airlines was operating nonstop Douglas DC-8 service from Papeete to Honolulu by the late 1980s.[27]

In early 1989, five airlines were operating nonstop wide body jetliner flights from Papeete to Los Angeles (LAX) including Air France, Air New Zealand and Qantas with all three operating Boeing 747 service while at the same time Continental Airlines and UTA were both operating McDonnell Douglas DC-10 service on the route with a combined total of ten nonstops a week being operated by the five air carriers to LAX.[28] From LAX, the Air France flights continued on to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) while the Qantas flights continued on to San Francisco (SFO).[29] In addition, UTA was operating three DC-10 flights a week nonstop to San Francisco (SFO) at this same time with two of these flights continuing on to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) while the third flight continued on to LAX.[30]

Air Tahiti Nui, which is based at the airport, was operating nonstop service between Papeete and New York JFK Airport during the mid 2000s with Airbus A340-300 aircraft; however, the airline was no longer flying this route by 2009.[31] Air Tahiti Nui currently operates nonstop flights to Auckland, Los Angeles and Tokyo as well as direct service to Paris via Los Angeles and has added new Boeing 787-9 "Dreamliner" aircraft to its fleet.[32]

On October 2017, the airport received its first charter flight from China, a Hainan Airlines Airbus A330.[33]

Airlines and destinationsEdit


Year Passenger traffic[38][citation needed]
2000 1,548,327
2001 1,466,370
2002 1,370,254
2003 1,424,365
2004 1,413,572
2005 1,447,260
2006 1,535,825
2007 1,511,340
2008 1,379,832
2009 1,223,315
2010 1,183,273
2011 1,169,819
2012 1,152,593
2013 1,150,610
2014 1,171,618
2015 1,195,105
2016 1,248,517
2017 1,291,807
2018 1,393,849

Ground transportationEdit

Many buses come into the airport from Papeete, the main bus being the airport shuttle which goes along the Tahiti west coast freeway, which passes in front of the main terminal. The parking lot has traffic guards in which 3,000 people pass through each month.[citation needed]

Accidents and incidentsEdit

  • On 13 July 1973, Pan Am Flight 816, a Boeing 707, crashed into the sea just after take-off, killing 78 of 79 occupants.[39]
  • On February 19, 1985, a UTA DC-10 operating from Los Angeles to Auckland via Pape'ete made an emergency landing at Rangiroa following a telephoned bomb threat. Passengers and luggage were removed and flown to Tahiti onboard French military aircraft. The aircraft was searched and no bomb was found. The aircraft was flown empty to Pape'ete a week later.[40]
  • On 12 September 1993, Air France Flight 072, a Boeing 747-400 from Los Angeles to Pape'ete, ran off the runway on landing and into the reef at the end of the tarmac . The nose of the 747 was submerged in the water. There were no fatalities.[41][42]
  • On 24 December 2000, Hawaiian Airlines flight 481, a DC-10-10, overshot the runway on landing and slid off the tarmac during a bad storm. There was one minor injury and no fatalities.[43]


  1. ^ a b c NTAA – Tahiti Faa'a. AIP from French Service d'information aéronautique, effective 15 August 2019.
  2. ^ Aé – Statistiques annuelles Aéroport de Tahiti Faa'a (french only) Archived 2012-02-29 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Préambule Archived 2012-07-16 at" Air Tahiti. Retrieved on 2 February 2011. "Société Air Tahiti Société Anonyme au capital de 2 760 000 000 CFP Siège social : aéroport de Tahiti – Faaa BP 314 – 98713 Papeete – Tahiti – Polynésie Française ."
  4. ^, Aug. 15, 1960 Air France system timetable, TAI & RAI flight schedules
  5. ^, Dec. 12, 1960 Transports Aeriens Intercontineaux system timetable
  6. ^, Sept. 23, 1960 South Pacific Air Lines timetable
  7. ^, Feb. 16, 1962 South Pacific Air Lines timetable
  8. ^, Aug. 15, 1962 Transports Aériens Intercontinentaux system timetable
  9. ^, May 15, 1964 Union de Transports Aeriens (UTA) system timetable
  10. ^, Aug. 1, 1966 Pan American World Airways system timetable
  11. ^ Feb, 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide (OAG), flight itinerary for Pan Am flt. 828
  12. ^, April 29, 1979 Pan American World Airways system timetable
  13. ^, April 27, 1969 & Oct. 25, 1970 LAN-Chile system timetables
  14. ^
  15. ^, Jan. 1, 1970 Union de Transports Aeriens (UTA) system timetable
  16. ^, May 1, 1975 Union de Transports Aeriens (UTA) system timetable
  17. ^, June 4, 1979 Union de Transports Aeriens (UTA) system timetable
  18. ^ a b, July 1, 1983 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Papeete Fa'a'a Intl. Airport flight schedules
  19. ^, July 1, 1983 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Papeete Fa'a'a Intl. Airport flight schedules & Oct. 1, 1996 Official Airline Guide, Los Angeles-Papeete & Auckland-Papeete & Sydney-Papeete flight schedules
  20. ^, July 1, 1965 Qantas system timetable
  21. ^, June 1, 1991 Air Liberte/Minerve combined timetable
  22. ^, July 1968 Air New Zealand system timetable
  23. ^, July 1, 1983 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Papeete Fa'a'a Intl. Airport & London Gatwick Airport flight schedules
  24. ^ Nov. 1987 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Worldwide edition, Papeete flight schedules
  25. ^ Flight Timetables
  26. ^, July 1, 1983 Official Airline Guide (OAG) Worldwide Edition, Papeete flight schedules
  27. ^, Jan. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG) Worldwide Edition, Honolulu flight schedules
  28. ^, Jan. 1, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG) Worldwide Edition, Los Angeles flight schedules
  29. ^, Jan. 1, 1989 Official Airline Guide Worldwide Edition, Paris Charles de Gaulle & San Francisco flight schedules
  30. ^, Jan. 1, 1989 Official Airline Guide (OAG), San Francisco, Los Angeles & Paris Charles de Gaulle flight schedules
  31. ^, Press Releases, News and Information in 2009
  32. ^
  33. ^ "1st Flight of Hainan Airlines to Tahiti". Egis Airport Operator. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  34. ^ a b "Air Tahiti Nui and Air France propose JV to fix problematic Paris – Papeete routes". 3 June 2013.
  35. ^
  36. ^ "May launch for French Blue's Tahiti flights". Radio New Zealand News. Radio New Zealand. 13 November 2017.
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Statistiques Annuelles (In French)". Union des Aeroports Francais (In French). Union des Aeroports Francais. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  39. ^ Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network for Pan Am Flight 816
  40. ^
  41. ^ AirDisaster.Com: Accident Photo: Air France F-GITA Archived 2007-04-27 at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network.
  43. ^ Accident on at Tahiti Faaa Airport to the DC10-10 registered N132AA operated by Hawaiian Airlines Archived 2007-10-10 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit