Discussions About Charter Flights Between Cook Islands, Fiji Underway

Air Rarotonga, Fiji Airways try to reach agreement

By Losirene Chand 

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, June 28, 2016) – Discussions are underway regarding the possibility of charter flights between Nadi, in Fiji, and Rarotonga.

Air Rarotonga managing director and chief executive Ewan Smith confirmed the airline was in discussions with Fiji Airways regarding the operation of several charter flights between the two destinations in December and January.

Smith said Air Rarotonga would provide details when both parties had finalised the agreement.

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation Halatoa Fua said the availability of a chartered service between Rarotonga and Nadi could broaden visitor traffic during the low season and increase the number of visitors from other Pacific islands.

“In the event that this service is reinstated permanently in the long term, Cook Islands Tourism will canvass the opportunity with its trade partners to form itineraries for the Australian and Northern Hemisphere visitors who wish to do multiple destination stops.

“Cook Islands Tourism will support any regional airline that would operate as a commercial service from other Pacific Islands to the Cook Islands.”

Fijian Association President Josua Tawakedrau said the charter flights would be welcomed by members of the Fijian community living in the Cook Islands.

“This would make it easier for us to travel home and visit our families in Fiji at Christmas and New Year, and likewise our families can also travel to Rarotonga. We hope this agreement does come through.”

He said travelling through New Zealand and applying for a transit visa had been difficult for Fijian contract workers in the Cook Islands since the New Zealand High Commission in Rarotonga had stopped processing visa applications.

These now had to be sent through by post to the New Zealand Immigration office in Auckland.

“We also hope that transit visa can be waived for Fijians working in the Cook Islands so our children can travel to and fro to study in Fiji.”

Cook Islands News
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