Flights in and out of Nouméa grounded due to riots

Flights in and out of Nouméa grounded due to riots

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Tuesday 14/05/2024
Magenta Airport, Noumea: Blockades and industrial action have grounded flights across New Caledonia ahead of a proposed change to the constitution. Photo / Gérard, CC

All flights into and out of the capital of New Caledonia have been grounded due to industrial action and strikes that in some areas, have turned violent.

Blockades erected at Nouméa’s Tontouta Airport have led to its closure, with services grounded until at least 5pm today.

A statement from the national carrier, Aircalin, says services today for Auckland, Sydney and Fiji have all been cancelled pending developments.

They say the rescheduling information will be posted on their website as soon as possible, and they regret any inconvenience caused.

A general strike was called by the USTKE union, and demonstrations against a proposed constitutional change from Paris.

New Caledonia, a French overseas territory some 19,000km from the Metropole, was anticipating large demonstrations from tens of thousands of pro-independence supporters ahead of a scheduled vote on the Constitutional Amendment Bill on Tuesday.

While there have been reports of violence and fires in the capital, the general strike action has blocked transport across the islands.

Last night, the French High Commission to New Caledonia issued a statement condemning the blockades of streets and public airports and praised the work of the national gendarmerie forces.

After what the commissioner called a night of “public disorder of a great intensity”, the office has urged those in New Caledonia to stay home and limit going outside in the hours to come.

The sale of alcohol and public gatherings have been suspended on New Caledonian territory on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Source: NZ Herald

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