Fa'a'ā International Airport is relatively small. Air Tahiti has flights every day going to all the other islands in French Polynesia while international flights go to countries such as France, Japan, the United States, or New Zealand. The airport is on Tahiti which is an island among the Windward Islands: the eastern part of the Society Islands. Mo'orea can be seen across the Pacific Ocean and Mount Tohive'a is a major mountain on Mo'orea. 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 off-shore.
There are five terminals within one main building. Terminal 2 is the busiest terminal with cafés and souvenir shops. There is an area called the Mahina Lounge. There is one McDonald's at the airport and it is one of the five McDonald's in all of French Polynesia. The conveyor belts are rubber and transport luggage about 40 ft (12 m). The floors in all of the terminals are brown tile. There are metal chairs and wooden benches throughout the airport in which people wait for the bus or other islanders to pick them up.
The Mahina Lounge is a small airside lounge, after the security area. The Mahina Lounge consists of a small café, a jewelry boutique, and a souvenir shop. The café has only a few chairs and offers wine, French pastries, and other foods. The small restaurant is called the Fa'a'ā Cafe and is near the entrance to the Mahina Lounge. The jewelry shop offers Tahitian jewelry and some dresses. The souvenir shop offers postcards, magnets, T-shirts and Tahitian magazines. The souvenir shop has a border with the jewelry shop and people are allowed to go through the border when they have purchased their souvenirs. The open area of the lounge contains 50 purple seats in five rows. When boarding, passengers go to the departure gate which is just behind a wall.
Many buses come into the airport from Pape'ete, the main bus being the airport shuttle which goes along Tahiti's 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.
On 12 September 1993, Air France flight 72, 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.
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.
^"Préambule" 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 ."