Commercial flights to New Caledonia are not expected to restart before May 21
Commercial flights to New Caledonia are not expected to restart before May 21. AFP

Royal Australian air force C-130 Hercules that can carry 124 passengers has landed in New Caledonia's capital Nouméa to evacuate the stranded tourists.

Foreign minister, Penny Wong, had earlier confirmed that French authorities had given clearance to operate for two flights to Caledonia after the international airport was shut down due to unrest and violence that has marred the region since May 13.

Wong on Tuesday posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) that they have received "clearance for two Australian government assisted-departure flights today for Australian and other tourists to depart New Caledonia."

France's defense council had agreed to permit flights from Australia and New Zealand to evacuate the stranded tourists the capital city of Noumea, Reuters reported.

Australia has been pressing France for four days to give clearance to extract stranded citizens, ABC News reported.

On Monday, the foreign ministers of Australia and New Zealand had held a call with their French counterpart and sought clearance from French authorities to send defense aircraft to evacuate tourists, after the commercial services were shut down.

Australia and New Zealand consular staff are preparing passenger lists, and priority will be given to those with the most "pressing need," BBC reported.

"DFAT is contacting registered Australians. Passengers are being prioritised based on need. We continue to work on further flights," Wong wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Around 300 Australians and 250 New Zealanders were among the 3,200 people stranded in New Caledonia after commercial flights were cancelled due to the unrest that broke out last week.

Australian travelers have been struggling to get food and essential medications due to the unrest that hit the French Pacific territory since May 13. Wong said Australia will assist tourists from "other countries" too.