Rarotonga International Airport is the main international gateway of Cook Islands. It is located in the town and district of Avarua, Rarotonga, 3km west of the downtown area on the northern coast. Currently, there are four international airlines that operate at Rarotonga International Airport: Air New Zealand (daily services to Auckland; weekly service to Christchurch, Sydney, and Los Angeles), Pacific Blue (services to Auckland thrice a week, with connections to Sydney); Air New Zealand (limited service ex Sydney (direct) to Rarotonga), Air Rarotonga (Aitutaki, Atiu, Papeete, Manihiki, Mauke, Mangaia, Mitiaro, Penrhyn Island), and Air Tahiti (Papeete) – both operate code-share services to Tahiti twice per week. The Pacific Blue flights arrive and depart at midnight, and the early hours of the morning. Air New Zealand has code share arrangements with all other Star Alliance members including United Airlines. The airport is capable of handling aircraft up to Boeing 747s and has a capacity of handling 100,000 visitors per year. Passengers can get very close to the aircraft while they land because of the close proximity of the runways to the nearby roads.
The airport revamped and expanded its existing terminal facilities in 2009, which officially opened in 2010. The terminal has halls for departure and arrivals, passenger check-in, cargo acceptance and handling, crew transport and accommodation, VIP services – accommodation tours and rentals, refuelling, engineering support, station management, IT and communication support, as well as liaison with Airport and border control authorities. There is a Westpac ATM at arrivals after you pass through immigration and customs.
Services and Facilities
There are several places at and around the Rarotonga International Airport that serve a variety of dining options including tropical cuisines. If you want to relax while waiting for your boarding schedule, you can stay in the airport lounges. There is a lounge dedicated each for domestic and international passengers. The domestic gate lounge has a garden seating area adjacent to the domestic departure gate. There are refreshments available from the Ka Kite Café and automatic vending machines. The international gate lounge is a public area located at the departure gates after passengers have been processed through Security and Immigration. It is adjacent to a range of Duty Free Shops and Reefside Rarotonga. You can also buy beverages and snacks in this area. The international gate lounge also features a range of stores that sell perfume, alcohol and tobacco, as well as local wooden and woven handicrafts, jewellery including Cook Islands black pearls, island sarongs and pareau's, local designed t-shirts, shorts, dresses, among others. Air New Zealand operates the Air New Zealand Koru Lounge, an airside lounge, where passengers can stay after being processed through Security. It is adjacent to the departure gates, and can be used by departing international premium passengers and Koru Club members. Aside from the comfortable amenities, departing guests can enjoy food, beverages and complimentary Wi-Fi. The lounge is part of the airport’s recent terminal development. All arriving and departing international passengers can enjoy duty free shopping in the arrivals area. A wide range of wines, spirits, and beers along with tobacco products are available.