Air Calédonie (TY, Nouméa Magenta) has suspended all commercial scheduled flights until November 7, 2021, as ordered by a government decree in the wake of extended lockdown measures and airport closures in protests over the introduction of a health pass in the French collectivity of New Caledonia.

In a statement on its website, the airline said it was operating a restricted flight programme according to authorisations granted. Special rotations would be operated on October 25, 26, and 27 between Nouméa Magenta and Ouvéa; and Nouméa and Île des Pins.

All its sales offices were currently closed, but sales teams could be reached telephonically during limited office hours on weekdays, while online reservations remained open.

The airline on October 18 had initially cancelled its flights until the end of October after Lifou airport was closed by the local authority in protest against the introduction of a compulsory health pass requirement for domestic flights.

Already deployed in France, since October 11 the health pass is also required in New Caledonia to allow for a gradual return to normal life while minimising the risks of spreading the disease, according to a government of New Caledonia statement. It includes a vaccination certificate attesting to a complete vaccination schedule; or a negative COVID-19 test certificate of less than 72 hours; or a positive test certificate of at least 11 days and less than six months valid as proof of recovery.

The introduction of the health pass is to allow relaxation of lockdown measures, which have been extended until October 31, 2021, following the latest wave of COVID-19. Strict confinement measures are in effect on weekends, accompanied by curfews, and the presentation of travel certificates.

Caledonia has recorded 10, 553 new cases since September 6, 2021, of which 261 people have died. Just over half of the population has so far been fully vaccinated.

Aircalin (SB, Nouméa La Tontouta), according to a statement on its website, continues to provide specially-authorised flights three times a week (Tuesday, Friday and Sunday) to Paris CDG, France in connection with Air France via Tokyo Narita. Air Loyauté (RLY, Nouméa Magenta) has been providing medical evacuations and the delivery of medicines, according to information posted on its social media platforms.