New Caledonia guarantees loan for new planes

The New Caledonian Congress has approved a loan guarantee to allow the territory's international airline to renew its fleet.

Air Calin plans to buy two widebody Airbus 330neo and two Airbus 320neo at a cost of just under $US400 million.

The Congress voted 37 to 15 to guarantee a $US50 million of the loan after a bank consortium earlier wanted the territory to guarantee twice the amount.

There were sharp disagreements in Congress over whether to support the guarantee with backers and opponents in both the anti and pro-independence camps.

Backers pointed at the need to help the tourism sector and to sustain easy access to France, while opponents expressed concern about the already high level of public debt.

Air Calin cooperates with Air France which flies from Paris to Japan, with Air Calin servicing the route between Japan and Noumea.


Photo: AFP An Airbus A320 takes off from Toulouse, France.