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Saturday, October 30, 2010

French Polynesia International Airport's 50th Anniversary

On the 14th of October French Polynesia issued a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the building of Tahiti International Airport.

The works started in May 1959 and lasted 18 months. The majority of men in Tahiti worked on that gigantic building site. A first segment of 2,000 meters was completed in October 1960, and this short airstrip was immediately opened to propeller-aircraft traffic.

Although the TAI (Transports Aeriens Intercontinentaux) DC-8 aircraft touched ground on 04 May 1961, the official inauguration of the aerodrome took place on 5 May 1961, with speeches by political figures, leis, music and dances, in accordance with Tahitian custom. This first jet airliner opened the "Paris - Los Angeles – Papeete" route, which was to be followed by many other routes, mainly serving Pacific countries.