|Founded||September 1983 (as Air Calédonie International)|
|Hubs||La Tontouta International Airport|
|Frequent-flyer program||Flying Blue|
|Parent company||Government of New Caledonia|
|Headquarters||Nouméa, New Caledonia, France|
|Key people||Martine Lagneau (President)|
Didier Tappero (MD)
|Revenue||€151 million (2017)|
Société Aircalin, also known as Air Calédonie International, is the flag carrier of the French collectivity of New Caledonia, with its headquarters in Nouméa. It operates scheduled services from its main base at La Tontouta International Airport to destinations across Oceania and Asia, such as Japan and Singapore, and additionally operates domestic services in Wallis and Futuna. The airline is 99% owned by the Government of New Caledonia, with the remaining 1% held by minority owners, including the airline's employees.
The airline was established in September 1983 as Air Calédonie International, an international airline to complement New Caledonia's domestic airline, Air Calédonie. Between 1983 and 1985, the airline operated flights from Nouméa by leasing aircraft from other airlines including Air Nauru and Qantas. In 1985, the airline acquired a Sud Aviation Caravelle from Corsair, which it used to open routes to Sydney and Auckland until 1988, when the airline replaced the Caravelle with a Boeing 737-300. In 1987, the airline also acquired a DHC-6 Twin Otter to operate services in Wallis and Futuna. In 1996, the airline rebranded as Aircalin, unveiling a new corporate image and logo.
In April 2000, Aircalin agreed on a three-year interim lease with Airbus for an Airbus A310-300 previously operated by Swissair as its first widebody aircraft. This allowed the airline to trial the viability of long-haul services, with the airline's first long-haul destination being Osaka. The next year, the airline ordered two Airbus A330-200s from Airbus, which were to begin delivery upon the expiration of its Airbus A310 lease. The airline also considered the replacement of its single Boeing 737-300 with an Airbus A320-200. Aircalin's first Airbus A330-200 proceeded to begin service in late 2002, replacing the leased Airbus A310, while the second A330-200 allowed the airline to open a new route to Tokyo, taking over Air France's service between Tokyo and Nouméa. On 9 February 2004, the airline received its first Airbus A320-200, which replaced its Boeing 737-300.
On 1 July 2014, Aircalin unveiled a new livery with the delivery of its second Airbus A320-200, the livery incorporating shades of blue inspired by New Caledonia's lagoon and skies, as well as traditional symbols. In October 2017, the airline ordered two Airbus A320neo and two A330-900 aircraft, with the intent of replacing its two Airbus A320-200 and two A330-200 aircraft. Aircalin's first Airbus A330-900 was delivered on 30 July 2019, and the airline subsequently planned the retirement of its Airbus A330-200 operations for September 2019. Following the initial retirement of the airline's Airbus A330-200 aircraft, Aircalin returned one of its Airbus A330-900 aircraft to Airbus in November 2019, citing noxious fumes in the cabin during operation, similar to issues reported by TAP Air Portugal for their own A330-900 aircraft. One of the airline's A330-200 aircraft was temporarily returned to operation for six weeks, during which the A330-900 was being investigated by Airbus and engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce until December 2019.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Aircalin in May 2020 reported a 93% drop in passenger demand since March 2020, postponed all operations outside of French repatriation flights, and announced plans to cut staffing costs by 20% through a combination of layoffs and voluntary resignations. The airline also announced the suspension of its routes to Melbourne and Osaka from Nouméa, and the postponement of its Airbus A320neo deliveries from 2020 to 2023. The airline initially in July 2020 scheduled the resumption of services to Osaka for March 2021, however flights to Osaka never resumed. Despite previous reports that its Airbus A320neo deliveries would be postponed to 2023, Aircalin accepted its first of two A320neos in December 2020, before retiring its remaining Airbus A320-200s by April 2021.
|Country or Territory||City||Airport||Notes||Refs|
|China||Hangzhou||Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport||Terminated|||
|Fiji||Nadi||Nadi International Airport|
|French Polynesia||Papeete||Faa'a International Airport|
|Japan||Osaka||Kansai International Airport||Terminated|||
|Tokyo||Narita International Airport|
|New Caledonia||Nouméa||La Tontouta International Airport||Hub|
|New Zealand||Auckland||Auckland Airport|
|South Korea||Seoul||Incheon International Airport||Terminated|||
|Vanuatu||Port Vila||Bauerfield International Airport|
|Wallis and Futuna||Wallis||Hihifo Airport|
|Vele||Pointe Vele Airport|
|Airbus A320neo||1||1||8||—||160||168||Delivery deferred from 2020 to 2023.|
|DHC-6 Twin Otter||2||—||—||—||16||16|
Aircalin has previously operated the following aircraft:
|Airbus A310-300||1||2000||2003||Airbus A330-200|
|Airbus A320-200||2||2004||2021||Airbus A320neo|
|Airbus A330-200||2||2002||2019||Airbus A330-900|
|Boeing 737-300||1||1988||2004||Airbus A320-200|
|Boeing 767-300ER||1||2005||2005||None||Leased from LOT Polish Airlines.|
|Sud Aviation Caravelle||1||1985||1988||Boeing 737-300|
Aircalin participates in Flying Blue, the frequent-flyer program of Air France–KLM. The airline originally joined as a partner of Air France's Fréquence Plus program in 1997, before it was later succeeded by and integrated into KLM's Flying Blue program in 2003.
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- "What Happened To LOT Polish Airlines' Boeing 767s?". Simple Flying. 12 October 2019.
Aircalin - Air Caledonie International leased the aircraft from LOT in 2005 but returned to LOT almost instantly.
Media related to Aircalin at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- "Entretien avec Philippe Busson, Directeur technique d'Aircalin" Entretien avec DT Aircalin
- "Aircalin Aircraft Livery" (Archive). Interact (company). September 2013.