Air Rarotonga says it plans to provide a direct air link from the Northern Cook Islands to Samoa this Christmas.
The carrier plans to link Penrhyn, Manihiki, and Pukapuka to Apia and thereby offer cheaper and faster access to and from New Zealand and Australia .
Flights will operate in the first week of December and again in the first week of January 2010 connecting in Apia with Air New Zealand and Polynesian Blue for onward flights to Auckland, Sydney and Brisbane.
The airline says it believes Cook Islanders in New Zealand and Australia will welcome the opportunity for quicker more economical access to their home islands for Christmas, while local residents in the Northern Group can take advantage of the return flights to do the same.
Air Rarotonga Managing Director Ewan Smith says the airline is in the process of applying for approval of the proposed flight schedule from both the Cook Islands and Samoan Governments and expects to have this completed shortly.
Pukapuka is a customs port of entry and twice as close to Apia as Rarotonga.