Air Caledonie Modernizes Fleet

New Caledonia's domestic airline Air Caledonie is to replace its three 48-seat ATR 42-320 aircraft with one 48-seat ATR 42-500 plane and two 72-seat ATR 72-500 planes. The current fleet is 10-15 years old, and Air Caledonie expects the new planes will offer travelers better service while saving about a million dollars a year on maintenance costs.

Air Caledonie flies from Noumea to New Caledonia's four popular outer islands, Ouvea, Lifou, Mare, and the Isle of Pines. The company offers a four-flight airpass at CFP 31,100 (about US$310), which can be purchased upon arrival in Noumea. The pass is valid for two months and reservation changes are allowed.

It's also quite easy to get to these islands on the highspeed catamaran Betico from Noumea, and catamaran tickets are about half the cost of going by air. The cat has the added advantage of arriving and departing for the town centers (except on Ouvea), saving money on airport transfers. A good compromise is to do the three Loyalty Islands (Ouvea, Lifou, and Mare) by air and visit the Isle of Pines on the ferry.

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