- Hawaiian Airlines will start weekly flights between Honolulu and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands from May 2023, offering access to the Polynesian-rooted archipelago.
- The airline will utilize Airbus A321neo, featuring first-class recliners, business class, and economy seats for this route.
- Cook Islands’ Prime Minister sees this as a crucial step in rebuilding their tourism industry, providing improved access to their northern hemisphere markets.
Hawaiian Airlines Expands South Pacific Network
Honolulu, Hawaii–Hawaiian Airlines announced on November 30 that it will launch weekly flights between the Hawaiian Islands and the Cook Islands in the South Pacific Ocean starting from May 2023.
Ticket sales for the flight (HA495) from Honolulu to the Cook Islands’ Rarotonga will begin December 7, with the first flight scheduled to take off on May 20.
“We are delighted to grow our South Pacific network by offering our guests access to the Cook Islands, an archipelago that shares Hawai’i’s Polynesian roots and natural beauty,” said Peter Ingram, President, and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines in a press release.
Airbus A321neo: The Aircraft of Choice
He added that he hopes this new service would expand travel opportunities between the Cook Islands and the United States owing to the airline’s frequent existing services through 15 major US cities, including eight Californian cities.
The flight used for this new route will be the Airbus A321neo, “the most fuel-efficient and quietest aircraft of its kind,” which features 16 luxurious leather recliners in first class, 45 premium seats in business class, and 128 chairs in economy class.
Cook Islands: Tourism Recovery and Unique Features
The Cook Islands comprises of 15 islands (Rarotonga being the largest and most populated) and is named after the famous British explorer James Cook. The country maintains political links with New Zealand, with its citizens carrying New Zealand passports (with Cook Island stamp seal inside) and using New Zealand Dollars as currency.
“We welcome this timely announcement from Hawaiian Airlines as we look to rebuild our tourism industry and strengthen access to our northern hemisphere markets,” said Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown, adding that inbound tourism was a key driver to the nation.
The islands surrounded by pristine turquoise waters are relatively empty (not crowded) year-round. The local law bans buildings taller than a coconut tree and foreign fast food establishments.
What We Think
Hawaiian Airlines’ expansion to the Cook Islands offers exciting prospects for both leisure and cultural exploration.
This move not only signifies increased travel accessibility but also highlights the allure of lesser-known, serene destinations like the Cook Islands for travelers seeking unspoiled natural beauty and Polynesian heritage.
The strategic vision to connect markets and foster tourism growth reflects positively on Hawaiian Airlines’ commitment to offering diverse travel experiences.
Read the full press release here.