Tuesday, January 12

Rarotonga airport update

Rarotonga airport is being upgraded.
A new check-in area and domestic terminal was built a few years ago and now the international arrivals and departures area is under construction.
It was probably necessary in order to beef up the security arrangements. The arriving and departing passengers used to be separated by a piece of string. In fact they used to be able to mix and mingle in the duty free booze shop. It meant that everyone was able to listen to Jake Numanga serenading with his ukulele but secure it was not.
Some parts of the new building have been completed and the whole thing should be ready to open in June or July.
The baggage collection area is still the same although when the revamping started the plain glass windows looking in from the car park area were replaced with frosted glass. It was really annoying because that’s where everyone waited to get the first glimpse of friends and relations. The airport authority must have had a lot of complaints because the clear glass is now back. Good thing too.
Adverts have just appeared in Cook Islands News for people to operate various shops, a café and duty free outlets and when the whole thing is completed it should be light and airy and perhaps a bit less like a temporary barn than it was.
The video shows an Air New Zealand Boeing 777 arriving in Rarotonga.
Air NZ have been flying here since the airport opened (in the early 1970s I think). It used to cost an arm and a leg! Raro/Auckland must have been amongst the most expensive air miles in the world but in these days of rising costs and inflation air tickets to the Cooks are among the few things whose costs have plummeted. It helps that there is more than one airline flying here. At the moment we also have Pacific Blue (to New Zealand) and Air Tahiti (to Tahiti – but Air NZ no longer flies there anyway).
It would help our economy if other airlines could fly more tourists here but that seems unlikely in the near future. Mind you, Air NZ will soon be starting up direct flights from Sydney. Aussies provide our second biggest tourist numbers after Kiwis so we could soon be seeing more of them. Hotels, motels, restaurants and shops will be very happy about that.