4 Jun 2020

Air Caledonie resumes Lifou flights

10:57 am on 4 June 2020

New Caledonia's domestic airline has resumed services between Noumea and Lifou today after Air Caledonie had been stopped from landing for almost three weeks.

Air Caledonie ATR takes off from Magenta airport in Noumea

Air Caledonie ATR takes off from Magenta airport in Noumea Photo: RNZ Walter Zweifel

Chiefs on Lifou banned the carrier on the island because it had hiked the return fare for Noumea flights by $US7.

While neither the airline nor the chiefs changed their stance, the administration of the Loyalty Islands province decided to bear the extra costs until the end of July.

The protest against the fare hike also led a blockade of the airport of Mare which is also being lifted this week.

The chiefs had argued that Loyalty Island residents should not be charged more but that shareholders should make up for the airline's woes.

Air Caledonie is estimated to have incurred losses of $US5 million because of the Covid-19 induced shutdown.

The chiefs had also said they had unsuccessfully demanded the closure of the international airport at the end of January.

The fare protest was not extended to Ouvea or the Isle of Pines.

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