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Cook Islands League Nines teams scramble for alternative travel arrangements after cancelled flight

Wednesday 15 November 2023 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in League, Pacific Games 2023, Sports


Cook Islands League Nines teams scramble for alternative travel arrangements after cancelled flight
Members of the Cook Islands rugby league Nines team at the Auckland Airport yesterday. WALLACE AROITA/23111417

The Cook Islands rugby league Nines teams were left stranded in Auckland yesterday after their scheduled flight to Nadi, Fiji, was cancelled due to Tropical Cyclone Mal.

The category 3 cyclone was reported to be moving away from the Fiji group at midday yesterday after causing some damage to parts of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu.

The disruption to flights has affected passengers travelling to Nadi, with delays and cancellations being reported.

The Cook Islands Nines teams – heading to the Solomon Islands for the 2023 Pacific Games – departed Rarotonga on Monday and were due to catch their connecting flight from Auckland to Nadi yesterday. However, upon arrival at Auckland Airport yesterday morning, they were informed that their flight to Nadi had been cancelled.

The players and management spent most of their day at the airport before checking into a nearby hotel for the night. They were rescheduled to fly out to Nadi early this morning. From Nadi, they were to take the flight to Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson, who is traveling with the team, described the situation as a “bit of a mission” to reach the Solomon Islands.

Carlson explained that they were attempting to fly from Auckland to Nadi yesterday in time to catch the weekly Honiara flight scheduled to depart Nadi this morning.

“It’s a bit of a mission trying to get to the Solomons. We will miss our connecting flight, so we’re looking at other options to get there. We spent the whole day exploring all options to get to Nadi,” Carlson told Cook Islands News yesterday.

“I felt sorry for the team having to get up early only to find out our flight was cancelled. In fact, a few of us had already checked in when suddenly the other members couldn’t process their tickets. So it was a very long day indeed, back and forth between Air NZ, our travel agent, and other airlines.”

Meanwhile, the Cook Islands national women’s and men’s football teams departed for the Solomon Islands yesterday morning.

Team Cook Islands comprises a 250-strong contingent made up of teams from 14 sports federations. The 2023 Pacific Games will be held from November 19 to December 2.