New Caledonia airline resumes flights amid ongoing unrest

A New Caledonian airline, Aircalin, has announced plans to gradually resume commercial flights following weeks of deadly rioting that left the capital city of Noumea in chaos. The violence had paralyzed the country’s main airport, Tontouta International Airport, but officials now say that some domestic and international flights are set to recommence.

Despite the resumption of flights, the airport remains closed to the public due to ongoing security concerns. Passengers are being advised to use an alternative airport located approximately 50 kilometers away and then take a shuttle to reach Tontouta International Airport. Access to the main airport is still not completely secure, according to airport authorities.

The unrest in New Caledonia began after the French parliament proposed granting voting rights to French citizens in the territory. This move has sparked fears among the indigenous Kanak people that their voices will not be fully represented and goes against their long-standing desire for independence. The violence that erupted as a result of these tensions led to the deployment of security personnel by the French government.

In response to the crisis, New Caledonia’s pro-independence party has called on French President Emmanuel Macron to abandon the voting reform. The party emphasized that unless progress is made on this issue, the activists manning the roadblocks and barricades across the country will continue their protests. While some barricades have been removed, obstacles still remain on the main roads in Noumea.

As New Caledonia attempts to navigate through this period of unrest and uncertainty, the resumption of commercial flights by Aircalin marks a small step towards normalcy. However, the underlying issues that led to the violence persist, and the path to a peaceful resolution remains unclear.