Changi Airport News Travel

Aircalin doubles down on Singapore – Noumea flights

Aircalin has doubled its flights from Singapore to New Caledonia to four times weekly, with a fifth flight in store from July next year, as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in the French overseas territory.

Back in May this year we reported how Singapore was getting its first direct air link to the South Pacific islands of New Caledonia since the mid-1990s, with twice weekly nine-hour flights by Aircalin linking the French overseas territory using Airbus A330neo aircraft from July 2022.

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It was certainly nice to see that Changi Airport’s recovery from COVID-19 wasn’t exclusive to pre-pandemic routes, with this new holiday option, described as “The French paradise on Australia’s doorstep”, now available for more adventurous Singapore residents.

Flights benefit from flat-bed seats in Business Class on these brand new planes to and from Noumea – Singapore’s latest direct holiday destination.

Aircalin doubles down on Singapore

For the first four months of operation from July to October 2022, Aircalin was flying twice per week on its Singapore – Noumea route, with departures offered every Friday and Sunday.

With the start of the northern winter season in November 2022, the schedule has already been boosted to four times weekly, with additional services flying on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, both of which offer a daytime alternative to the existing overnight flights on Fridays and Sundays.

In turn, that will also mean two overnight flight options per week from Noumea to Singapore, as outlined in the schedule below.

1st November 2022 to
30th June 2023

  Days
M T W T F S S
SB701
A330-900neo
SIN
10:25
NOU

22:10
SB701
A330-900neo
         
SIN
20:50
NOU

08:35*
SB700
A330-900neo
         
NOU
01:00
SIN

06:45
SB700
A330-900neo
         
NOU
13:05
SIN

18:50

* Next day
Minor timing adjustments to all flights from 26th March 2023 – 30th June 2023

Singapore – Noumea flights take around 8 hours 45 minutes

Before these flights commenced in July 2022, Noumea was last linked non-stop to Singapore in the mid-1990s by Air France, via a twice weekly extension of its regular Paris – Singapore service.

Indeed Air France already codeshares on this new route, with timings in both directions on weekend services designed to connect with its non-stop Singapore-Paris flights for passengers making the journey all the way to and from France with a transit in Singapore.

This provides travellers with as little as a four-hour connection at Changi on the way from Paris to Noumea and a 4.5-hour connection in the return direction, or a Lion City stopover option on the long journey.

Aircalin has two Airbus A330-900neo aircraft it uses on flights to destinations including Tokyo, Sydney and now Singapore too. (Photo: Aircalin)

Aircalin also interlines with Jetstar Asia at Changi, providing same-ticket onward connections to and from other cities in the region.

Flights increase to five times weekly next year

From 1st July 2023, Aircalin will further increase these Singapore – Noumea flights to five times per week, with the addition of a Thursday service, making it the airline’s joint most frequently served long-haul route, alongside Tokyo Narita.

1st July 2023 to
29th October 2023

  Days
M T W T F S S
SB701
A330-900neo
SIN
11:00
NOU

22:50
SB701
A330-900neo
       
SIN
20:00
NOU

07:50*
SB700
A330-900neo
         
NOU
00:30
SIN

06:45
SB700
A330-900neo
       
NOU
11:45
SIN

18:00

New Caledonia enjoys almost year-round sunshine, but July to December are the driest months and probably represent the best time of year to visit.

A beach in New Caledonia. (Photo: Sebastien Jermer)

Cabin products

Aircalin’s Airbus A330-900neo aircraft are fitted with 291 seats across three cabin classes:

  • 26 Business Class
  • 21 Premium Economy Class
  • 244 Economy Class

In Business Class (a.k.a. Hibiscus Class) the airline uses the Stelia Aerospace Opal seat in a staggered 1-2-1 layout, with couple seats at alternating middle rows.

Aircalin Business Class. (Photo: John Walton)

Those travelling alone will prefer one of the window seats for added privacy.

Aircalin Business Class. (Photo: John Walton)

These convert to fully flat beds, and Wi-Fi is also available on board.

Fares

Round-trip fares on this new route from Singapore to Noumea and back are priced at around:

  • S$1,090-S$1,740 in Economy Class
  • S$2,020-S$2,470 in Premium Economy
  • S$3,240-S$3,560 in Business Class

Based on travel in February 2023.

Business Class return fares from Singapore to Noumea start at around S$3,240 in the coming months. (Photo: Aircalin)

Award redemptions

Aircalin is a Flying Blue partner, so you can redeem Flying Blue miles for its flights.

The airline offers award seats starting at the following rates for its Singapore – Noumea route:

  • Economy: 35,500 miles one-way
  • Premium: 71,000 miles one-way
  • Business: 89,000 miles one-way
Aircalin Business Class. (Photo: Aircalin)

Upgrade rates are also available using Flying Blue miles, from Economy to Premium, Economy to Business, or Premium to Business, based on availability and your ticketed booking class.

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It is also possible to redeem Flying Blue miles on Air France / Aircalin itineraries from Paris to Noumea via Singapore, through the Air France website.

New Caledonia is now test-free

When these Singapore – Noumea flights first launched in July, New Caledonia was still imposing a pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 test for visitors.

However, like the rest of the world (well, most of it at least), the swabbing has happily been ditched, with New Caledonia removing all COVID-19 entry restrictions since 1st August 2022.

Anyone can now travel to New Caledonia, regardless of vaccination status, without any ART or PCR tests either before or after arrival.

Since 1st August 2022, all COVID-19 entry formalities are no longer applied in New Caledonia, regardless of the country of departure.

Both vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers are now allowed to enter the territory without any COVID requirements.

New Caledonia Tourism

An ART test two days after arrival is still recommended, but is not compulsory. Mask-wearing is optional in all settings, including on flights to and from New Caledonia, but is recommended when visiting medical facilities.

For travel to New Caledonia, you should also be aware of the following:

  • New Caledonia is a dependent territory of France, but is not part of the Schengen Area.
  • If you hold a Singapore passport, you don’t need a visa to visit New Caledonia for stays of up to three months.
  • You must have a travel insurance certificate or health insurance (covering any expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent health attention and/or emergency hospital treatment) with a minimum coverage of EUR30,000.
  • You must ensure that your passport has at least three months of validity after the date you intend to leave New Caledonia.
Le Méridien Noumea. (Photo: Marriott International)


 


 

Summary

The French overseas territory of New Caledonia is Singapore’s latest non-stop beach destination, with initial twice weekly services by Aircalin using Airbus A330neo aircraft already hiked to four times weekly starting this month.

A fifth weekly service will also be added next year, adding further to the flat-bed Business Class option on these nine-hour flights, while Air France will continue to codeshare, providing more connectivity between Europe and New Caledonia.

Will you be considering a trip to Noumea on one of these new flights? Let us know in the comments section below.

(Cover Photo: Airbus)

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