Hawaiian Airlines launches nonstop weekly flights between Hawaii and the Cook Islands
Hawaiian Airlines this afternoon gathered its guests to commemorate the inauguration of nonstop weekly flights between Honolulu and Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Hawaiian previously operated the HNL-RAR route from 1987 to 1993.
Airline representatives say the return comes just in time for the US summer travel season and provides travelers from Hawaiian’s 15 US Mainland gateway cities convenient one-stop connections to the Cook Islands.
Flight HA495 will depart Honolulu at 4 p.m. on Saturdays and arrive in Rarotonga at 10:25 p.m. the same day. The return flight, HA496, will depart Rarotonga at 11:35 p.m. on Sundays with a 5:50 a.m. Monday arrival in Honolulu.
The launch of HA495, operated by Hawaiian’s 189-passenger Airbus A321neo aircraft, kicked off with a special gate-side event that included live music and entertainment from the Hawaiian Airlines Serenaders and a local Cook Islands performance group, which included students from Brigham Young University–Hawaiʻi, special remarks from Hawaiian Airlines, the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation – Airports and the Cook Islands government, and a traditional blessing. Before HA495’s departure, the airline’s employees gifted lei to guests as a mahalo for joining the special occasion.
“Our Honolulu-Rarotonga flight bridges Hawaiʻi with another South Pacific neighbor and connects two archipelagos that share Polynesian roots, rich culture and endless tropical beauty. We’re thrilled to begin this service, which greatly expands travel opportunities between the Cook Islands and the United States with convenient one-stop connections to the Cook Islands from our 15 US gateways,” said Lokesh Amaranayaka, vice president of airport operations at Hawaiian Airlines in a news release announcement.
“This flight will provide easy access to the Cook Islands for the people of Hawaiʻi and visitors looking to experience an exotic location such as Rarotonga,” said Ford Fuchigami, deputy director of Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation – Airports.
“The Cook Islands and Hawaiʻi have a long-standing connection deeply rooted in shared Polynesian heritage, and this route serves as a gateway to world travelers seeking pristine beaches, rich cultural experiences and a touch of paradise. To Hawaiian Airlines, I express my heartfelt gratitude for their commitment to connecting our nations. Through this partnership, we embark on a journey of shared growth, mutual prosperity and strengthening ties,” said the Honorable Robert Tapaitau, deputy prime minister of the Cook Islands