Budget airline Jetstar has started selling tickets to Rarotonga as early as next month.
But the local airport authority hasn’t received an exact date from the airline on when it will resume its Rarotonga service.
Jetstar is advertising four flights a week from Auckland to Rarotonga, starting from July 1. The prices for one-way fares range from $182 to $310.
It comes amid frustration from passengers who can’t fly, but can’t claim refunds because the flights aren’t officially cancelled.
Miriam Messam, her husband and two daughters were booked to fly in on Jetstar late next month for friends’ wedding anniversary. Their flights from their home in Dubai to Auckland have been cancelled – but the Jetstar legs remain up in the air.
“I paid $2000 for our flights but hadn’t booked accommodation. When we first realised that our travel would be impacted, I went online to see what was happening with Jetstar,” Messam said.
“I wasn’t in a position to receive travel vouchers – we couldn’t have accessed them in the time allowed, within a year.”
Jetstar did not reply to questions sent to them on their proposed plan to resume Rarotonga service, or on whether it would refund travellers who could not take their flights.
Air New Zealand resumes taking passengers on June 19, as long as they meet the requirements of being Cook Islanders or work permit holders who have spent the past 30 days in New Zealand.
Air New Zealand June 19 fares are more expensive, starting at $429 – but they are confirmed to fly.
Joe Ngamata, chief executive officer of the Cook Islands Airport Authority, said Jetstar had indicated they would resume their Rarotonga service “soon”. The airline hadn’t specifically stated a date.
There was no restriction on airlines operating the Cook Islands route, Ngamata said, apart from those outlined by health ministry Te Marae Ora.
Border restriction will be lifted on June 19 for Cook Islanders and work permit holders; they will not be required to undergo quarantine in Rarotonga.
Government is also hoping to reopen the borders for Kiwi visitors but discussions on this are ongoing with the New Zealand government.
Ngamata said: “We do not know at this stage when the airlines will resume normal service. We were thinking more towards September when flights will return to normal but things seem to have changed.”