29 May 2009

New Caledonia domestic flights to resume

1:45 pm on 29 May 2009

Flights out of Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia are expected to resume on Friday afternoon after violent clashes on Thursday forced the closure of a domestic airport.

Radio New Zealand International reports the clashes stopped flights to the outer islands.

Police used tear gas to dislodge hundreds of members of the USTKE union who tried to seize the airport as part of an industrial dispute.

Some unionists cut through a perimeter fence to get onto the tarmac and entered two ATR planes.

French High Commissioner Yves Dassonville says an explosive device was found in one of the aircraft.

Reports say 30 arrested union members are still in custody.