Rarotonga International Airport

Rarotonga International Airport (IATA: RAR, ICAO: NCRG) (Cook Islands Māori: Papa Rererangi o Rarotonga) is the Cook Islands' main international gateway, located in the town and district of Avarua, Rarotonga, 3 km (1.9 mi) west of the downtown area on the northern coast. Originally built in 1944, the airport was expanded in the early 1970s, and officially opened for jets in January 1974.

Rarotonga International Airport

Papa Rererangi o Rarotonga
Rarotonga International Airport from the air
Airport typePublic
LocationAvarua, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Hub for
Elevation AMSL19 ft / 6 m
Coordinates21°12′10″S 159°48′20″W / 21.20278°S 159.80556°W / -21.20278; -159.80556
RAR is located in Cook Islands
Location of the airport in Cook Islands
RAR is located in Oceania
RAR (Oceania)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
08/26 2,328 7,638 Concrete
Sources: DoD FLIP[1]

Because of the proximity of the runways to the nearby roads, it is possible to get very close to the aircraft while they are departing and landing. In July 2015, three tourists were injured by jet blast after being blown over while watching an Air New Zealand Boeing 777 take off.[2][3] Consequently, in 2016, the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation warned tourist operators that they should not promote the jet blast area as a tourist attraction.[4]

History edit

An unsealed airstrip at Nikao was originally constructed by the New Zealand Department of Public Works in 1944,[5] with the first flight landing in November 1945.[6] The New Zealand National Airways Corporation operated fortnightly flights to Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Aitutaki from 1945 to 1952, and Polynesian Airways operated flights to Apia from 1963 to 1966.[5] In 1964 the airstrip was extended from 5,000 to 6,000 feet, and TEAL proposed sealing the runway to allow for jet aircraft.[7] The issue was forced in 1966, when increased regulation of international flights requiring the use of larger aircraft threatened to cut off air travel entirely.[8] Local land-owners agreed to expansion,[9] and the New Zealand government agreed to provide funding[10] in exchange for control of airspace rights.[11][12] Construction began in June 1970,[13] and completed in 1973. The first jet flight, an Air New Zealand Douglas DC-8, landed in December 1973.[14] The international airport was officially opened on 28 January 1974.[5]

The Cook Islands government took control of landing rights in 1985.[15]

In 2003, the terminal and departure and check-in areas were revamped at a cost of US$650,000.[16] An $8.5 million reconstruction project commenced in 2009 to revamp and expand the existing terminal facilities. The new-look terminal was officially opened on 22 June 2010.[17]

Airlines and destinations edit

Air New Zealand[18] Auckland
Air Rarotonga Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Mauke, Mitiaro, Papeete
Air Tahiti Papeete
Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu
Jetstar Auckland, Sydney[19]

Gallery edit

References edit

  1. ^ DoD Flight Information Publication (Enroute) – Supplement Pacific, Australasia and Antarctica. St. Louis, Missouri: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. 2005. p. B-256.
  2. ^ "Jet blast puts three in hospital". Cook Islands News. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Three hurt by Air New Zealand jet blast in Rarotonga". Stuff. 3 July 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  4. ^ Rashneel Kumar (26 July 2016). "Rarotonga's jet blast thrill seekers cautioned". Cook Islands News. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Alphons M.J. Kloosterman (1976). Discoverers of the Cook Islands and the Names They Gave. pp. 48–49.
  6. ^ "Isolation is Now No More First Plane on Rarotongan Soil". Pacific Islands Monthly. Vol. XV, no. 6. 19 January 1945. p. 22. Retrieved 24 July 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "JET AIRPORT AT RAROTONGA MAY BE TEAL's ANSWER". Pacific Islands Monthly. Vol. 35, no. 3. 1 March 1964. p. 67. Retrieved 24 July 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "COOK ISLANDS MAY LOSE AIR SERVICE SOON". Pacific Islands Monthly. Vol. 37, no. 2. 1 February 1966. p. 123. Retrieved 24 July 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ W. H. Perceval (1 May 1966). "GREEN LIGHT FOR AIRPORT PLAN AT RAROTONGA". Pacific Islands Monthly. Vol. 37, no. 5. p. 133. Retrieved 24 July 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "'Momentous'airport decision will launch Cooks on international travel scene". Pacific Islands Monthly. Vol. 39, no. 5. 1 May 1968. p. 37. Retrieved 24 July 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "Rarotonga airport: much to be done before work begins". Pacific Islands Monthly. Vol. 40, no. 3. 1 March 1969. p. 31. Retrieved 24 July 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ "In aviation's doghouse". The Canberra Times. 4 April 1969. p. 2. Retrieved 24 July 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ W. H. Perceval (1 August 1970). "Everything hinges on the new jetstrip in the Cooks". Pacific Islands Monthly. Vol. 41, no. 8. p. 27. Retrieved 24 July 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  14. ^ "The Cooks are in the jet age". Pacific Islands Monthly. Vol. 45, no. 1. 1 January 1974. p. 77. Retrieved 24 July 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  15. ^ Roy Vaughan (1 November 1985). "Cook Is. go aviating". Pacific Islands Monthly. Vol. 56, no. 11. p. 37. Retrieved 24 July 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  16. ^ "Revamp for airport check-in area" (Press release). Cook Islands Government. 9 August 2003. Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  17. ^ "New $8.5m airport terminals opened". Cook Islands News. 22 June 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  18. ^ "How to get to the Cook Islands, Cook Islands Travel Guide".
  19. ^ "Jetstar takes over Sydney direct service". Retrieved 1 December 2022.

External links edit