Air New Zealand now flies to Rarotonga twice a week on its smaller A320 or A321 instead of the larger single 787-9 Dreamliner flight. This is because all of Air New Zealand quarantine-free flights are operated by the A320 aircraft which includes flights to Rarotonga.
Consequently, a number of Rarotonga businesses are struggling to get air freight from New Zealand. But Air New Zealand says they have enough cargo capacity in their two weekly flights to fulfil local demand.
Prime Foods owner Dan Forsyth is experiencing shipping issues, as are many others. “It’s been going on for three, four weeks now, we’ve been bumped off five flights.” Forsyth uses the flights to import fresh produce – the stores perishable items like berries, yoghurt, dips, fruit and vegetables are all running low.
He said the backlog meant food items expired before they got on the plane and suppliers had to write off the expense. “There’s no insurance for that … now my suppliers won’t supply unless there’s a guarantee.”
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