11 Nov 2003

Royal Tongan airlines to introduce second service to Cook Islands

12:05 pm on 11 November 2003

Royal Tongan Airlines plans to set up a second service to the Cook Islands early next year to meet demand.

The airline began flying between Tonga, Auckland, Sydney and Rarotonga last month and hopes to extend the service before March.

A spokesman for the airline in Auckland, Fetongi Malupo, says demand for the service - especially from Australian travel agents - is high.

"Even form the other end, from the Sydney wholesalers, they are asking when will be the second service to Rarotonga? The demand is there - there is some work to be done here and there - but from our side it's already in the schedules so it's just a matter of timing when we start the second service."

Fetongi Malupo says the service will begin as soon as their Honolulu service, which begins on December the 5th, is bedded down.

The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation's airline committee has been pushing for the second service following the success of the airline's weekly service to Rarotonga, which arrives and departs on a Saturday afternoon.

The chief executive officer of the corporation, Chris Wong, says the airline has been enjoying an average passenger load of around 80 per cent.