24 Nov 2008

Cook Islands to continue underwriting Air New Zealand flight from Los Angeles

5:16 pm on 24 November 2008

The Cook Islands Government has agreed to enter into another risk-share agreement with Air New Zealand that will see the continuation of the direct weekly flights to Los Angeles from Rarotonga.

Pacific Magazine reports the Cook Islands Tourism Minister, Wilkie Rasmussen saying the new agreement means the government will continue to pay for any shortfall on the route.

Since the inception of risk-sharing last year, the Cook Islands has paid the airline over one and a half million US million.

The Cook Islands, like Samoa and Tonga, had been facing a deadline of the end of this month to agree to pay for Air New Zealand's losses on its Los Angeles routes or lose the direct flights from next March.

Air New Zealand says it is flying those legs at a loss and will end the flights unless regional governments agree to make up the shortfall.

Tonga and Samoa are expected to come up with more than four million US dollars.