A Jetstar flight offloads passengers and cargo at Rarotonga International Airport. PHOTO: CI NEWS
Cheaper flights are on offer between Rarotonga and Auckland from October as another airline looks set to re-enter the market.
Jetstar is scheduled to fly between Auckland and Rarotonga
from October with one-way flights priced between $169 and $253.
While Jetstar says services to Cook Islands are not possible
as this stage given its services to Rarotonga originate in Australia with no
bubble for quarantine-free flights - the wheels are in motion for an
Auckland/Rarotonga service with flights scheduled to depart Auckland from
October 16 and Rarotonga from October 19.
Schedules show the flights will service both destinations
about four times a week.
Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council president Liana Scott
welcomed news Jetstar was taking bookings between the two countries from
“It’s a good thing like any competition, not only does it
bring another competitor on but it keeps Air New Zealand in check,” said Scott,
who is also the general manager of the Muri Beach Club Hotel.
“From a consumer point of view, it is all good stuff, it
shows the confidence is there.”
A public notice published in the Cook Islands News by the Transport
ministry last month stated an application had been made by Jetstar for a Cook
Islands Air Services License to operate scheduled flights to the country,
commencing June 2021.
However a Jetstar media spokesman yesterday said services to
Cook Islands “are not possible at this stage given our services to Rarotonga
originate in Australia and there is currently no bubble for quarantine-free
flights between Australia and Cook Islands”.
The spokesman added the airline was looking forward to the
Australian government working with Cook Islands and other Pacific island
governments for two-way quarantine free travel in the future.
His words were echoed by Cook Islands Tourism Australasia
general manager Graeme West at a conference on Rarotonga earlier this week.
West said Australia was now a priority and the target was
two to three flights a week between Sydney and Rarotonga.