9 Nov 2007

Air Rarotonga fares to Northern Cooks clarified

2:38 pm on 9 November 2007

The General manager of Air Rarotonga, Ewan Smith, has clarified the new airfares for passengers flying to the Cook Islands northern groups.

The new one-way fare to the northern islands is 893 US dollars, an increase of 69 percent.

An earlier report said the new fare would be 1,500 US dollars, but this was incorrect.

Mr Smith says Air Rarotonga flies to Manihiki once a week and once every second week to Penhryn, refuelling in Aitutaki for the four-hour flight.

"This is a very specialised operation to a very isolated area, it has a number of challenges, [because of ]small unpaved runways we have to operate small aircrafts, and we can carry a maximum of eight passengers in each direction on these flights."

Mr Smith says the airline has no option but to lift its prices because of the cost of fuel and the distance to the northern islands.

The government has indicated it is considering options to soften the impact on residents and businesses in the northern islands.