There is doubt in French Polynesia that the territory can sustain several domestic airlines.

New carriers are being launched to challenge the dominant position of Air Tahiti, which flies to more than 40 island destinations.

Newly approved airlines Motu Link and Air Moana hope to start flying from Tahiti to the most popular destinations, mainly in the Society Islands and the Tuamotus.

Both airlines want to use ATR aircraft to fly to popular destinations, such as Bora Bora, Huahine and Raiatea.

However, the head of Air Tahiti Manate Vivish told Radio 1 that there is scarcely room for more than one airline.

He said more competition will bring about more flights and lower fares but warns of significant regulatory constraints that need to be considered.

Vivish says he is surprised that the government appears to be prepared to discuss dealing with new airlines to provide public service flights, given Air Tahiti signed a contract.

In view of the pandemic in 2020, Air Tahiti planned to drop about half its destinations because the routes were unprofitable.

The announcement angered the government, which said such a drop of service amounted to taking the population of entire islands hostage.

Another planned carrier, Islands Airlines, shelved its project to introduce domestic jet travel in 2020 because of the impact of the pandemic.

The company had gone through the courts to obtain a licence after the government had stalled its application in what was described as an attempt to protect the monopoly held by Air Tahiti.