Commercial flights from Nouméa’s international airport have resumed on Wednesday on a limited basis.

The Nouméa-La Tontouta International Airport had been closed to the public since violent and destructive riots broke out in New Caledonia on 13 May.

This was mainly due to the main road access between Nouméa and the airport being blocked by numerous barricades erected by groups of rioters.

The highway is still unusable, but international carrier Air Calédonie International (AirCalin) introduced a new transfer system, relying on domestic airline Air Calédonie and its ATR-42 and ATR-72 planes from Nouméa’s domestic Magenta airport.

However, only a limited number of international flights will be operational, in what AirCalin terms as a “light” and “modified” schedule starting from 5 June.

AirCalin said as part of this “gradual” reopening of international traffic, passengers on those “authorised” flights would only be allowed one suitcase, with a maximum weight of 23kg per person.

Air transfers via Air Calédonie’s ATRs can only carry a maximum of about 50 passengers.

The first regional flights on the schedule are those from Papeete, French Polynesia, via Nadi, Fiji SB631, and to Brisbane, Australia SB150, it said.

Since La Tontouta airport was closed to commercial flights on 13 May, a total of 185 flights had to be cancelled, thereby affecting some 20,000 passengers, AirCalin said.

Domestic carrier Air Calédonie has also resumed internal flights on Wednesday, but on a limited “one flight per island per day “basis, from Nouméa Magenta to the Loyalty islands group (Maré, Lifou, Ouvéa) and the Isle of Pines.