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Jetstar launches first Aussie flights to Cook Islands since 1990

written by Jake Nelson | July 3, 2023

Jetstar’s Airbus A321neo, VH-OFV, on the tarmac at Sydney Airport. (Image: Jake Nelson)

Jetstar has become the first Australian airline to fly direct between Australia and the Cook Islands in more than three decades.

The low-cost carrier will operate three return flights per week from Sydney to Rarotonga using its Airbus A321neo LR (NEO) aircraft, with the first flight taking off for Avarua last Thursday night as JQ141 on board VH-OFS.

This is the first time any Australian carrier has operated a direct route to the Cook Islands from Australia since Ansett ended its service in 1990. While Jetstar already flies from Auckland to Rarotonga, the Sydney route will shave at least three hours off the travel time and add up to 60,000 seats per year between the two destinations. The only other carrier to have offered a direct service in recent years is Air New Zealand.

“Now just a five-hour flight from Sydney, our new service will make the Cook Islands the next hot holiday spot for Australians seeking a tropical island escape to relax and unwind, especially during cooler months,” said Jetstar’s Chief Customer Officer, Alan McIntyre.

“Our everyday low fares mean Australians can enjoy Rarotonga’s beautiful warm weather, white sand beaches and sparkling blue waters for less.


“We thank the Cook Islands Government for its support of the new route.”

Jetstar’s eighth NEO aircraft arrived in Melbourne last month ahead of the winter school holidays, with a ninth one to be delivered by the end of July The plane, VH-OFW, landed in Adelaide before being flown to Jetstar’s Melbourne base.

According to Jetstar, the NEOs deliver 99.8 per cent mechanical reliability, are 50 per cent quieter than similar size Airbus A320/A321s, and burn up to 20 per cent less fuel. Jetstar will receive another 10 A321neo LR aircraft by the end of 2024, bringing its total NEO fleet to 18.

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