Air New Zealand has cancelled flights to New Caledonia for the next three months due to “ongoing uncertainty”, weeks after civil unrest broke out in the French territory.

The airline has not flown to the territory’s capital airport in Nouméa since rioting and violence broke out in mid-May, but says it remains “committed to returning”.

Air New Zealand short-haul general manager Jeremy O’Brien said it would be “challenging” to continue flying to the Pacific archipelago in the short term.

Passengers holding tickets to New Caledonia in the next three months would not be re-booked onto alternative services but could opt to receive full refunds.

“We’d like to thank customers in advance for their patience and understanding at this time,” he said.

“We understand that this will be disappointing for customers who have travel plans to and from Nouméa and we apologise for the disruption this causes. It’s not a decision we have taken lightly, and we’re committed to returning to Nouméa after September 28.”

It comes as the Government negotiates to get the remaining 200 out in one go.

Customers booked directly with Air New Zealand to travel to Nouméa can either have flights automatically held in credit or receive a full refund, according to the airline.

“Due to limited options and continued uncertainty in the region, customers will not be rebooked on flights to Nouméa via alternative services.

“Customers booked through a travel agent should contact their travel agent directly to discuss the options available to them.”

Over the past three weeks, six mercy flights have evacuated Kiwis stuck in the region.

Commercial flights resumed to New Caledonia’s La Tontouta Nouméa airport last week, with restricted access to airport facilities. Aircalin, the French overseas territory’s flag carrier, resumed a “modified” schedule to the airport, RNZ reports.

The access road to the airport was blocked by barricades amid the rioting.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters said authorities are now just waiting on approval from the French authorities to take flight.

Violence in New Caledonia flared on May 13 in response to attempts to amend the French Constitution and change voting lists in New Caledonia.

Rioting left seven people dead and caused significant destruction after decades of tensions between pro-independence and pro-France groups.

France declared a state of emergency in the Pacific territory on May 15 and rushed hundreds of troop reinforcements to help police quell the revolt that included shootings, clashes, looting and arson.

The state of emergency was lifted on May 28 to help facilitate dialogue between local parties and French authorities for the future of the archipelago and restore peace.