New Caledonia’s Nouméa airport is closed until Tuesday, Air New Zealand says

By rnz.co.nz and is republished with permission

Air New Zealand has confirmed Nouméa airport in New Caledonia is closed until Tuesday, as civil unrest continues in the French territory.

File image. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

In a statement, Air NZ said the closure of the airport left it “with no option but to cancel our services on Saturday 18 May and Monday 20 May”.

“Even when the airport does reopen, Air New Zealand will only operate into Nouméa when we can be assured that the airport is safe and secure, and that there is a safe route for our ground staff and customers to reach the airport.

“We are in close contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), who are providing us with updated information and guidance, as well as our codeshare partner Aircalin.

Once we are able to resume operations again, customers will be rebooked onto available services. We are also offering flexibility for customers to defer travel.”

Earlier today, Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters told Morning Report government officials had been working on an “hourly basis” to see what could be done to help New Zealanders wanting to leave.

That included the Airforce or using a commercial airline.

More than 200 New Zealanders were registered as being in the country, his advice to them was to stay in place and keep in contact.

Before the closure of the airport, Wellington researcher Barbara Graham – who has been in Nouméa for five weeks – said the main issue was “the road to the airport … and I understand it still impassable because of the danger there, the roadblocks and the violent groups of people”.

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