11 Feb 2004

Cook Islands businessman reiterates calls for set up of airline

4:36 pm on 11 February 2004

A Cook Islands businessman is calling for the government to relook at the idea of setting up its own airline.

Tata Crocombe, who is the owner of the Rarotongan Resort, says the cut price fares that are being offered to Fiji, are having a big impact on the Cook Islands.

He says that bookings by New Zealanders to his resort dropped by 75 percent from one day to the next when the Fiji packages were announced.

Mr Crocombe says the government needs to set up its own airline.

"It's a matter of choices, isn't it? I mean there's all manner of things the government does find resources to be able to finance. And, when your economy is 100 percent dependent on one type of economic activity, it's just good insurance to have access to that market. At the moment, our access is predicated on what Air New Zealand's doing. We are a very, very minor consideration in Air New Zealand's strategic plannings"

Mr Crocombe says they have done the numbers on setting up an airline but are now looking for possible investors.