Virgin Australia Launches Christchurch-Rarotonga Service
26th Nov 2015
Virgin Australia will begin a new weekend service between Christchurch, New Zealand and Rarotonga, Cook Islands in about seven months. The weekly service will be operated between 25th June and 8th October and the airline will use Boeing 737-800s on it.
Judith Crompton, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Australia said in a statement:
"Our flights between Christchurch and Rarotonga will feature our award-winning Business Class, with luxury leather seating and menus designed by our resident head chef Luke Mangan. With up to five flights each week already operating between Auckland and Rarotonga, this new service from Christchurch ensures more New Zealanders can conveniently explore this beautiful part of the world."
Virgin Australia could be "colliding" with its partner Air New Zealand, which also operates flights to and from Cook Islands, namely Rarotonga-Los Angeles, Rarotonga-Sydney and Rarotonga-Auckland. Asked whether this means they will now operate their Christchurch flights in conjunction with Virgin's new service, or is it leaving the route and giving it to its partner, a spokesman for AirNZ said:
"Air New Zealand competes with Virgin Australia and many other operators on Pacific Island routes and will continue to do so. Air New Zealand offers direct services between Auckland and Rarotonga, which customers connect to via our 22 domestic ports."
In addition, the spokesman confirmed there will be no kind of cooperation (whether through ticketing or interlining) with Virgin on the route.
Cook Islands Tourism Corporation General Manager Graeme West had this to say about the service:
"There hasn't been a non-stop service from Christchurch to Rarotonga for many years and we have travellers and travel agents constantly asking when there will be one. We are delighted that Virgin Australia has seized the opportunity. It's a short non-stop flight to paradise."
Christchurch and Rarotonga are about four kilometers (4,095km) away from each other.