Tourism to the Cook Islands has received a shot in the arm with the news that the South Pacific archipelago has secured new services from the US-based Hawaiian Airlines (HA, Honolulu).

Starting on May 20, 2023, Hawaiian Airlines will connect Rarotonga weekly with Honolulu in time for the US summer travel season. The service will connect with 15 US mainland gateway cities, including eight in California.

Flights will be conducted with an A321-200N with 16 premium cabin seats, 45 in premium economy, and 128 economy seats, according to a statement by the airline. Hawaiian Airlines previously served the Cook Islands from 1987 until 1993.

Meanwhile, Jetstar Airways (JQ, Melbourne Tullamarine) will launch two weekly flights between Sydney Kingsford Smith and Rarotonga on June 29, 2023, marking the first time the low-cost carrier will operate non-stop flights between Sydney and the largest of the Cook Islands. Still, the service will be the carrier's second route to the Cook Islands. It currently operates thrice weekly between Adelaide International and Rarotonga, according to ch-aviation schedules data.

Jetstar will deploy one of its new A321-200NX(LR)s on the route. It is awaiting delivery of eighteen of the type, according to the ch-aviation fleets module. According to the airline, the new service will bring 50,000 additional visitors to the Cook Islands a year. The launch is timed for the start of Australia's winter school holidays.

Commenting on the new service from Honululu, Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown said: "Inbound tourism is a key economic driver for our nation, and to reach our potential, we need access from the larger international markets." He added the non-stop flights from Australia were another major step in the destination's post-pandemic recovery.

According to the ch-aviation capacities module, Air New Zealand (NZ, Auckland International) currently holds the lion's share of more than 60% weekly airline seat capacity at Rarotonga, followed by Air Rarotonga (GZ, Rarotonga) at around 24%, and Jetstar Airways at just over 15%.