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Australia, New Zealand and France conduct evacuation flights from New Caledonia

In light of the increasing unrest in New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand have begun evacuation efforts to ensure the safety of their citizens who are stuck on the French archipelago, where violent protests have broken out. 

New Zealand was the first to act. On May 21, 2024, the government arranged an evacuation flight to bring home its nationals. A C-130 Hercules operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force transported stranded citizens from Noumea to Auckland. 

Hours later, Australia also took action, announcing that it had secured authorization to charter two evacuation flights. Two C-130 Hercules aircraft, operated by the Royal Australian Air Force, were sent from Brisbane to Nouméa Magenta Airport (GEA), the island’s domestic airport, to conduct evacuations. 

Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong, reported that France agreed to conduct a flight to Australia on May 22, 2024, to evacuate more stranded tourists. 

“French authorities have advised they will be conducting a flight to Australia today to enable more tourists to depart New Caledonia,” Wong said in a Facebook post. “We will continue to work with partners to support the departure of all Australians who want to leave.” 

AeroTime contacted the French Ministry of the Interior and the Overseas for comment. 

This marks the first evacuation effort since the closure of Nouméa’s international airport, a direct consequence of the recent clashes. Nouméa-La Tontouta Airport (NOU) in Nouméa was closed on May 14, 2024.  

The recent turmoil in Nouméa coincides with heated debates in a parliamentary session regarding a disputed constitutional reform opposed by supporters of New Caledonian independence. The clashes have led to six fatalities, including two gendarmes. 

The post Australia, New Zealand and France conduct evacuation flights from New Caledonia appeared first on AeroTime.

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