18 Aug 2011

Deal signed to end New Caledonia airport strife

1:26 pm on 18 August 2011

An agreement has been signed in New Caledonia to end the conflict between the domestic airline and groups of travellers who had blockaded airports in protest at air fare hikes.

A ceremony has been held in Lifou to settle the dispute which nearly two weeks ago led to unprecedented violence on the island of Mare where attempts to break the airport blockade left four people dead and another 30 injured.

According to public radio, the text of the accord is yet to be made public.

It is said to provide for a three-month moratorium to address the situation at Air Caledonie and the cost of travel, in general, to the Loyalty Islands and the Isle of Pines in general.

More than 140 police have been deployed to Mare to restore order.

There have been no arrests but more than 20 firearms have been seized.