Fa'a'ā International Airport
Fa'a'ā International Airport
Aéroport international de Tahiti Fa'a'ā
|Operator||SETIL - Aéroports|
|Serves||Tahiti, French Polynesia, France|
|Elevation AMSL||2 m / 5 ft|
Fa'a'ā International Airport (French: Aéroport international de Tahiti Fa'a'ā) (IATA: PPT, ICAO: NTAA) is in the commune (municipality) of Fa'a'ā, on the island of Tahiti, French Polynesia, France 5 km (3.1 mi) west southwest from the town center of Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia. Tahiti is in the northwestern part of French Polynesia, and this is the only international airport in the overseas collectivity of the French Republic. It opened in 1960. Regional air carrier Air Tahiti and international air carrier Air Tahiti Nui both have their head offices located at the airport.
Fa'a'ā International Airport is relatively small. Air Tahiti has daily flights to most other islands in French Polynesia. There are international flights to Chile, mainland-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 off-shore.
Airlines and destinations
Historical airline service
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. 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). 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. By 1962, South Pacific was operating weekly nonstop Super Constellation service to Pago Pago in America Samoa in addition to its flights to Honolulu.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Also by 1970, Union de Transports Aériens was operating all flights into the airport with long range Douglas DC-8-62 jetliners. UTA then introduced McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 wide body jet service between Papeete and Los Angeles during the mid 1970s. 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. In 1983, UTA was operating Boeing 747 service into the airport in addition to its DC-10-30 flights.
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. 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. In 1983, Air New Zealand was operating direct one stop, no change of plane Boeing 747 service twice a week between London Gatwick Airport and Papeete via Los Angeles. Air New Zealand currently operates nonstop Boeing 787-9 "Dreamliner" service several days a week between the airport and Auckland. 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, 747-300, 747-400, 767-300 or McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 on their flights. South Pacific Island Airways also served the airport during the early 1980s with nonstop Boeing 707 flights to Honolulu.
Many buses come into the airport from Pape'ete, 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.
Accidents and incidents
- On 13 July 1973, Pan Am Flight 816, a Boeing 707, crashed into the sea just after take-off. 78 of the 79 on board were killed.
- 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.
- 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.
- NTAA – Tahiti Faa'a. AIP from French Service d'information aéronautique, effective 3 January 2019.
- Aéroport.fr - Statistiques annuelles Aéroport de Tahiti Faa'a (french only) Archived 2012-02-29 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Préambule Archived 2012-07-16 at Archive.today" 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 ."
- "Air Tahiti Nui and Air France propose JV to fix problematic Paris – Papeete routes". 3 June 2013.
- "May launch for French Blue's Tahiti flights". Radio New Zealand News. Radio New Zealand. 13 November 2017.
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Aug. 15, 1960 Air France system timetable, TAI & RAI flight schedules
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Dec. 12, 1960 Transports Aeriens Intercontineaux system timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Sept. 23, 1960 South Pacific Air Lines timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Feb. 16, 1962 South Pacific Air Lines timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Aug. 15, 1962 Transports Aériens Intercontinentaux system timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, May 15, 1964 Union de Transports Aeriens (UTA) system timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Aug. 1, 1966 Pan American World Airways system timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, April 27, 1969 & Oct. 25, 1970 LAN-Chile system timetables
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Jan. 1, 1970 Union de Transports Aeriens (UTA) system timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, May 1, 1975 Union de Transports Aeriens (UTA) system timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, June 4, 1979 Union de Transports Aeriens (UTA) system timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1983 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Papeete Fa'a'a Intl. Airport flight schedules
- http://www.departedflights.com, 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
- http://www.timetableimages.com, July 1968 Air New Zealand system timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1983 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Papeete Fa'a'a Intl. Airport & London Gatwick Airport flight schedules
- https://www.airnewzealand.com. Flight Timetables
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network for Pan Am Flight 816
- AirDisaster.Com: Accident Photo: Air France F-GITA Archived 2007-04-27 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network.
- Accident on at Tahiti Faaa Airport to the DC10-10 registered N132AA operated by Hawaiian Airlines Archived 2007-10-10 at the Wayback Machine.