Air Rarotonga will be adding Penrhyn, Manihiki and Pukapuka in the northern Cook Islands to their routine flights starting in December and January.
The airline is going to connect with the atoll islands through Apia, which will give travelers easy access to communities in Australia and New Zealand.
Adding the new flights will make traveling easier for the islanders since the airline currently services the islands from the Cook’s capital, Rarotonga, which is 1,400 kilometers away.
Although the airline expects mostly former residents of the islands to be filling the 15-passenger plane, it is hoping for some tourist interest.
"We do get constant interest from overseas visitors wanting to visit the North however the cost and distance from Rarotonga is prohibitive for many, although dedicated island collectors make it up there," Airline head Ewan Smith said, according to Stuff.co.nz. Smith told Stuff.co.nz that Air Rarotonga hopes to develop adventure tourism into the Northern Group from Samoa on a fairly regular basis.
"It's unlikely to ever support large numbers and no-one will make a fortune, however its a potential niche market for travelers wanting to experience life on remote Pacific atolls without the travel being to arduous,” Smith said.
Air Rarotonga, established in 1978, is based in Rarotonga Cook Islands and operates flights among the islands. Passenger, cargo and charter services operate between nine island destinations.
With the airline growing from having a five-passenger to a 34-passenger plane, Air Rarotonga is adding new destinations to help attract more travelers. Along with new destinations, the airline offers scenic flights over the island of Rarotonga that operate daily as well tours to the outlying islands including the Aitutaki Day Tour, Aitutaki und Atiu Combo and the Northern Atolls Adventure.