Melbourne airport this week celebrated the resumption of Aircalin’s direct flights to New Caledonia by bringing a taste of beach paradise at the check-in gate.

Head of aviation, Jim Parashos, welcomed distinguished guests to mark the occasion.

The Aircalin Melbourne-Noumea flights are a quick 3.5 hours and will operate on the airline’s new Airbus A320 neo aircraft three times a week – on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with the ability to connect to the islands of Mare, Lifou, Ouvea or Isle of Pines on the same ticket.

The return of Aircalin after more than three years means Melbourne airport is back to its pre-pandemic level of 36 international airlines serving it.

In a first for an Australian capital city airport, the airport has now exceeded 100 per cent of pre-pandemic capacity in the international market.

In other Aircalin news, on 6 December, the New Caledonian flag carrier launched a second weekly flight between Noumea and Papeete in French Polynesia via Fiji (Nadi).

This new flight is part of a regional focus aimed at creating better links between the countries of the Pacific region and strengthening the historical, cultural, and economic ties existing between the various archipelagos.

Earlier this year, in July, Aircalin resumed service to Singapore with its Airbus A330-900 neo aircraft.