Air New Zealand's direct services between Rarotonga and Los Angeles and Rarotonga and Sydney will undergo a schedule change and, in the case of Los Angeles, introduce a 36% increase in capacity with the addition of new premium seats later this year.

North America and UK/Europe markets: From 2 December 2016 Air New Zealand will up-gauge from the existing B767-300 aircraft to a B777-200ER operation, flying non-stop between Los Angeles Tom Bradley terminal and Rarotonga. The new B777-200ER operation will offer 26 Business Premier Seats, 40 Premium Economy seats, and 246 Economy seats.

The new operation will bring about a schedule change for the North American market moving from a Saturday evening departure from Rarotonga to a Friday evening, arriving into Los Angeles on Saturdays. This change is effective from 4 November.

From Los Angeles, the new operation will commence on Saturday evenings from 5 November, with the return flight arriving Rarotonga on Sunday mornings.

Air New Zealand Manager Pacific Islands Peter Walsh says the Cook Islands are an integral part of Air New Zealand's Pacific Rim network.

"We have a strong commitment to the Cook Islands and we are proud that we have been flying here for over 40 years. We work collaboratively with local stakeholders and communicate and consult regularly through the Airline Consultancy Group.

"Our services both help to further stimulate tourism in the Cooks and ensure the islands are accessible to those outside of New Zealand. Air NZ is committed to growing the market alongside our local tourism partners."

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation has been working with the local industry to increase the luxury tourism product on offer.

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation CEO Halatoa Fua says Air New Zealand's new B777-200ER product is in line with this strategy by not only offering increased seat capacity but a three class cabin.

"This is good news for our Cook Islands tourism operators, and on trend with the increased demand for premium tourism experiences. The Cook Islands will be the only South Pacific destination to offer a Premium Economy class from the United States."

Australia: From 3 November 2016, direct services will depart Sydney on a Friday, arriving into Rarotonga on Friday mornings. Services previously departed Sydney on a Saturday.

Return direct flights will then depart Rarotonga on a Thursday, arriving into Sydney on Friday evening.

Air New Zealand will continue to operate their B767-300 aircraft with 24 Business Class and 206 Economy Class seats.

Fua says “Year on year figures show double digit growth from Australia. The Cook Islands have never been in a more favourable position to capitalise on the Australian market."

Air New Zealand website
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