17 Feb 2005

Air travel resumes in Cook Islands and Samoa after cyclone disruptions

2:58 pm on 17 February 2005

Air traffic has resumed in the Cook Islands after the latest disruption due to Cyclone Nancy.

The Managing Director of Air Rarotonga, Ewan Smith, says facing two cyclones within as many weeks prompted the airline to evacuate several of their aircraft out to Aitutaki for protection.

The Cook Islands could face a third cyclone in as many weeks, if Cyclone Olaf continues its east south east path.

But Mr Smith says information he's received indicates Olaf might well pass enough to the west to not be a problem for them.

However, he says as far as their inter-island service is concerned, the cyclone has disrupted travel plans of two to three hundred people in the last couple of days.

"Yeah, well it's been very disruptive. We've had to cease operations a couple of times now in the last week. Stop everything and then start again the next day. And the international flights of course were diverted last night as well which means the passengers on those flights were affected. But we're all back up to normal again as of ten-thirty this morning."

Meanwhile, air traffic has resumed in Apia, Samoa, after Cyclone Olaf moved past the country.

Air New Zealand's Samoa office says a couple of flights to Auckland and from Los Angeles were delayed in the last two days because of the cyclone but service has resumed today.