Jetstar to launch Cook Islands service next March

See also: ASK ME ANYTHING: Jetstar boss Grant Kerr

Jetstar is spreading its wings to the Cook Islands from next March.

The airline says this will bring its low fares to the route for the first time and is pitching one-way launch prices as low as $129 from Auckland.

These fares are restricted to certain dates and will be $169 from other North Island airports served by Jetstar and Nelson. A one-way trip from Queenstown will be $189.

The regular lead-in fares will be $219 one way. All flights will originate from Sydney or Melbourne, connecting to Rarotonga via Auckland.

By comparison, Air New Zealand is offering one-way fares ranging from $295 to $417 during February.

The Jetstar service will start on March 22, 2016, and run three days a week, departing Auckland on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Jetstar head of New Zealand Grant Kerr says this will be the airline’s first service connecting New Zealand and the Cook Islands from Australia.

“We’re very excited to announce our first direct service from New Zealand to the beautiful South Pacific,” he says.

Cook Islands Tourism general manager Graeme West says it will add 15% capacity, or around 25,000 seats, each year to the Auckland-Rarotonga route and boost annual New Zealand visitors numbers from 82,000.

“Tourism contributes 60% of GDP in the Cook Islands so the new services will provide a major boost to the country’s economy,” he says.