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Our Aircraft Fleet

 

Rarotonga International Airport with its 2300 metre concrete runway opened for international jet operations in November 1973.

Immediately after World War 2 travel to the Cook Islands was by NAC and RNZAF DC3 that plodded along at a sedate 150 knots via Fiji and Samoa. Then in the 1950s and early 60s the DC3 service gave way to TEAL Solent flying boats that operated the renown Coral Route connecting Fiji, Samoa, Aitutaki and Tahiti with a weekly service.

From 1963 to 1973 HS748s of Air Pacific and Polynesian Airlines flew the route from Samoa to Rarotonga returning via Aitutaki each week.

The arrival of Air New Zealand’s DC8 jets in 1973 heralded the beginning of the tourism industry for the Cook Islands growing from a few hundred annual arrivals to nearly 100,000 visitors in 2007.

Air Rarotonga was founded in 1978 with a twin engined 5 passenger Cessna 337 operating non-scheduled services and charter mainly around the Southern islands, with the occasional flight to distant Tongareva-Penrhyn. Piston engined aircraft gave way to the first turbo-props when the company introduced the 15 passenger Embraer Bandeirante in 1989 adding two more of the type in subsequent years. Increasing demand on the Aitutaki route saw the introduction of the modern 34 seater Saab 340 Twin Turboprop Regional Airliner in 2000.

Saab 340

Length
19.73 m
  Saab 340 at Aitutaki Airport
Our Saab 340 at Rarotonga Airport
Wing Span
21.44 m
 
Height
6.97 m
 
Crew:
2 pilots, 1 flight attendant
 
Capacity:
34 passengers
 
Propulsion:

2 x General Electric CT7-9B, 1730 shp each

 
Crusing Speed:
250 knots, 463 km/h
 
Cruising Altitude:
25.000 feet, 7.600 m
 
Range:
935 nm, 1735 km
 
 
The 34 passenger Saab 340 regional turbo-prop Airliner joined the fleet in 2000 and this aircraft now provides the core scheduled service between Rarotonga and Aitutaki up to five frequencies per day.
 
 

Embraer EMB110P1 'Bandeirante'

Length
15.10 m
  Embraer Bandeirante at Rarotonga International Airport
Embraer Bandeirante at
Rarotonga International Airport
Wing Span
15.40 m
 
Height
4.90 m
 
Crew:
2 pilots
 
Capacity:
15 passengers
 
Propulsion:

2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34, 750 shp each

 
Crusing Speed:
195 knots, 360 km/h
 
Cruising Altitude:
10.000 feet, 3.050 m
 
Range:
1060 nm, 1964 km
 
 
The Bandeirante provides excellent service to the smaller islands of the group being an ideal size, with a large cargo door, and proven reliability on short unpaved coral runways.
 

 

Cessna 172 'Skyhawk'
Length
8.28 m
  Cessna 172 at Rarotonga International Airport
Cessna 172 at
Rarotonga International Airport
Wing Span
11 m
 
Height
2.72 m
 
Crew:
1 or 2 pilots
 
Capacity:
2 or 3 passengers
 
Propulsion:

1× Lycoming IO-360-L2A flat-4 engine, 160 hp

 
Crusing Speed:
100 knots, 186 km/h
 
Service Ceiling:
13500 feet, 4116 m
 
Range:
687 nm, 1272 km
 
 
This Aircraft is used for pilot training and scenic flights. Its high wing design and the large windows make this an ideal Aircraft for flightseeing and aerial photography. Many of the stunning photographs and aerial footage you may have seen have been taken from this Aircraft.
 

 

ATR 72-500 (Air Tahiti codeshare flights between Rarotonga and Tahiti)
Length
27.17 m
  ATR 72-500 at Rarotonga International Airport
Air Tahiti ATR 72-500 at
Rarotonga International Airport
Wing Span
27.05 m
 
Height
7.65 m
 
Crew:
2 pilots and 2 flight attendants
 
Capacity:
69 passengers
 
Propulsion:

2× Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127F, 2475 hp each

 
Crusing Speed:
276 knots, 511 km/h
 
Service Ceiling:
21000 feet, 7000 m
 
Range:
890 nm, 1650 km
 
 
The ATR72-500 is the main player of our code share partner Air Tahiti. This modern Aircraft with its slow spinning six bladed scimitar propellers and active and passive noise reduction ensures a smooth and quiet flight to tahiti at nearly jet speed with turboprop economy.
 
For more images about aviation in the Cook Islands, please also visit our Cook Islands Image Library.


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