The announcement came as part of the airline’s Covid-19 international schedule through to June 30 2021.
Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council president Liana Scott said these actions are giving a confidence boost to the tourism sector that is very much needed, and the industry council is pleased to see things start to align.
“It is promising to see Air New Zealand start planning forwards and I can understand with limited choices of a safe Covid free destination on offer, the demand for flights to Rarotonga is going to be high particularly for those experiencing ‘cabin fever’,” Scott said.
“Planning from an airline perspective is also important, and it is great to see the airline factor the open corridor into their schedule.
“With the first one-way quarantine free flight starting this Wednesday, the outlook is certainly looking promising for a two-way corridor as indicated by both New Zealand and Cook Islands Prime Ministers in the first quarter of this year.”
Air New Zealand’s general manager networks Scott Carr said the airline has been progressively updating its schedule over the past 12 months in response to the global pandemic.
“Our schedule is driven by a number of factors including airport takeoff and landing slots which generally operate on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis. This means if you don’t fly the majority of your schedule you may lose access to airports,” he said.
“We have been waiting to receive slot alleviation for the April to end of June period, which means our regular slot times are protected even if we can’t fly them all. As this is now progressing, we are now able to move ahead with adapting our schedule through to June 30 to better reflect the low demand environment we are currently operating in.” Carr said Air New Zealand understands these are very uncertain times and it can be tricky for people looking to get home with a lot of things needing to line up including flights, testing and managed isolation bookings. “We strongly recommend customers check government border restrictions for the relevant countries and/or individual passport requirements before booking a ticket.”
(Source: Cook Islands News)