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50th Anniversary of International Airport

Tahiti post issued a postage stamp celebrating 50th Anniversary of International Airport in Tahiti.

After long discussions, on 17 June 1955, the Territorial Assembly of French Polynesia carried a motion for the creation of an international airport on the fringing reef of Faa’a, after a positive survey by IGN (National Geographic Institute).

However, it was only on 15 May 1957, after an inter-ministerial meeting in Paris that the decision was made to have an airport built. Such airport was conveniently located at the centre of Oceania and Australia-America routes.

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 metres was completed in October 1960, and this short airstrip was immediately opened to propeller-aircraft traffic.

Although the TAI (Transports Aériens 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.

Title: 50th Anniversary of International Airport
Date of Issue: 14 October 2010
Country: Tahiti
Denominations: 500f

Source: www.tahitiphilately.com

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