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Chaos in Tahiti as strike cancels flights for Qantas partner

written by Jake Nelson | July 10, 2023

Air Tahiti Nui operates four Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. (Image: Air Tahiti Nui)

Passengers have been left stranded in Tahiti with cabin crews on Air Tahiti Nui, a codeshare partner of Qantas, on strike.

The industrial action, which began last Tuesday, has upended travel plans, as Air Tahiti Nui flights to Auckland – which would connect to Australian destinations such as Sydney, Brisbane and Perth – have been cancelled at the very last minute.

Cabin crews are seeking a new salary package, as well as a review of wages. In a statement, Air Tahiti Nui said it is “actively working on finding alternative solutions” for affected customers to fly home. This includes chartering an Aircalin A330neo to ferry passengers between Papeete and Auckland.

“The Commercial Department specifies that each customer will be contacted individually as soon as a new departure option is found,” the airline said.

“Our teams are also actively involved in finding accommodation solutions to minimise the inconvenience caused to customers while they wait.”


The airline said on Sunday it has “no visibility on the operation of its flights during the next 48 hours”, and offered full refunds for passengers wishing to cancel their tickets.

“Charter solutions are currently being sought to allow resident travellers stranded abroad to be able to return to Polynesia and foreign visitors to be able to reach their country of origin.

“The General Management, along with the staff in the air and on the ground, are actively troubleshooting for passengers and send their most sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused by this strike.

“Returning to normal operation is a priority for the company, which is currently doing everything possible to best assist its passengers.”

Codeshare partner Qantas says that, due to the last-minute cancellations, Air Tahiti Nui has responsibility for affected passengers, meaning it is more difficult for the Flying Kangaroo to get in touch with those customers.

Passengers who booked through Qantas are being encouraged to contact the national carrier themselves so the airline can offer its support.

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