Cook Islands announces Direct Service to Hawai’i with Hawaiian Airlines

Cook Islands Government

Northern Hemisphere airlink established to connect 15 US mainland gateway cities with one stop through Hawai’i.

RAROTONGA – Prime Minister Hon. Mark Brown announces today that Hawaiian Airlines will begin flying to the Cook Islands from Honolulu starting 20 May, 2023.

“After many months of active discussions, my officials have completed the due diligence and paperwork that will see Hawaiian Airlines commence this flight in the second quarter of next year.  These flights will provide important access to the North American market for the Cook Islands’ tourism sector, forming a key pillar in our recovery from COVID-19.” Said Prime Minister Brown. 

Non-stop flights between North America and the Cook Islands ceased at the outbreak of Covid-19. This resulted in a loss of 15,700 seats annually and around 12,000 annual visitors to the Cook Islands from the origin markets of USA, Canada, Europe and the United Kingdom.  The United States market is the third-largest single-country market (after New Zealand and Australia) for tourists coming to the Cook Islands, with over 8,400 visitors in 2019 (plus an additional 2,700 from Canada). 

Customers visiting the Cook Islands from the Northern hemisphere are among the highest on-island spenders, contributing substantially to the Cook Islands economy. Americans stay longer, spend more and are more likely to visit Aitutaki and other pa enua (outer islands) than is the case with many other origin markets. 

“Since we opened our borders in January this year we have been continuously challenged with airline and access issues.  Despite this, we have gone from strength to strength, and to date we are tracking above our forecast for economic recovery” PM Brown offers “As we navigate these challenges we fend for ourselves and we look for sustainable solutions.  This is resilience.  It takes precious time, not all will agree, but we have to factor the immediate and long term considerations that are fiscally prudent in this current climate.  As we enter the Cook Islands Summer and Festive Season, things will be tough for some, but we can see our journey ahead becomes a lot clearer and brighter.  Our partnership with Hawaiian Airlines will put us in good stead for 2023 and beyond”.



About the Service 

Ticket sales for the Honolulu-Rarotonga service will begin Dec. 7 on and other third party distribution channels. Flight HA495 will depart Honolulu at 4 p.m. on Saturdays and arrive in Rarotonga at 10:25 p.m. the same day. The return flight, HA496, will depart Rarotonga at 11:35 p.m. on Sundays with a 5:50 a.m. Monday arrival in Honolulu. 

Guests will enjoy Hawaiian’s award-winning onboard hospitality in the comfort of its Airbus A321neo, the most fuel-efficient and quietest aircraft of its kind. It features 16 luxurious leather recliners in the Premium Cabin, 45 Extra Comfort Premium Economy seats, and 128 Economy seats. Textiles and other materials throughout the cabin pay homage to traditional Hawaiian crafts including bark cloth (kapa) and fishing nets. Other details range from sand-inspired wall panels to Hawaiian language signage and LED mood-lighting evoking Hawaii's soothing sunrises and sunsets. Guests will enjoy access to wireless streaming entertainment, USB outlets, and large overhead stowage space.

About Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian® has led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past 18 years (2004-2021) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation and consumer surveys by Condé Nast Traveler and TripAdvisor have placed Hawaiian among the top of all domestic airlines serving Hawaiʻi. In 2022, the carrier topped Travel + Leisure’s 2022 World’s Best list as the No. 1 U.S. airline and was named Hawaiʻi's best employer by Forbes. 

Now in its 94th year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawaiʻi's biggest and longest-serving airline. Hawaiian offers approximately 130 daily flights within the Hawaiian Islands, daily nonstop flights between Hawaiʻi and 15 U.S. gateway cities – more than any other airline – as well as service connecting Honolulu and American Samoa, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Tahiti.

The airline is committed to connecting people with aloha by offering complimentary meals for all guests on transpacific routes and the convenience of no change fees on Main Cabin and Premium Cabin seats. HawaiianMiles members also enjoy flexibility with miles that never expire. As Hawai‘i’s hometown airline, Hawaiian encourages guests to Travel Pono and experience the islands safely and respectfully.

Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HA). Additional information is available at Follow Hawaiian’s Twitter updates (@HawaiianAir), become a fan on Facebook  (Hawaiian Airlines), and follow us on Instagram (hawaiianairlines). For career postings and updates, follow Hawaiian’s LinkedIn page.

For media inquiries, please visit Hawaiian Airlines’ online newsroom.


Hon. Mark Brown