Hawaiian Grows South Pacific Network

The US carrier is returning to the Cook Islands after an absence of three decades.

Credit: joepriesaviation.net

Hawaiian Airlines plans to add scheduled flights to the Cook Islands during the northern summer 2023 season, becoming its first route to the South Pacific nation since 1993.

From May 20, the carrier will connect Honolulu (HNL) and Rarotonga (RAR) with a weekly service. Flights will use a three-class Airbus A321neo aircraft, featuring 16 premium cabins, 45 premium economy seats and 128 economy seats.

“This service greatly expands travel opportunities between the Cook Islands and the US, thanks to our well-timed connections and robust network, including service between Hawaii and eight California cities,” Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO Peter Ingram said.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown welcomed the new route saying it will help to rebuild the island country’s tourism industry and strengthen access to northern hemisphere markets.

“Inbound tourism is a key economic driver for our nation, and to reach our potential we need access from the larger international markets,” he said. “Hawaiian’s Honolulu-Rarotonga service connects us to Los Angeles, the Pacific Northwest, and many other large US mainland cities.”

Before the pandemic, the Cook Islands were connected to North America via a weekly Air New Zealand flight between Rarotonga and Los Angeles (LAX). However, the route was suspended in March 2020 and has not returned.

Hawaiian previously served the Cook Islands from 1987 until March 1993. OAG data shows the carrier currently flies to four destinations in the South Pacific, linking Honolulu with Pago Pago (PPG) in American Samoa; Tahiti (PPT) in French Polynesia; Auckland (AKL) In New Zealand; and Sydney (SYD) in Australia.