Pasifika Air aims to reignite the pawpaw industry in the Cook Islands by providing affordable freight to New Zealand. Owner Mike Pero has spent the past few days in Rarotonga researching the commercial sensibility of exporting pawpaw to New Zealand. According to Pero, Pasifika Air will be what makes the venture commercially possible.
Instead of charging $9 per kilogram for freight to New Zealand like other airlines, Pero said his aircraft will charge only $3 per kilo. He said at $9 it’s simply not possible for growers to export fruit. At $3 a kilo, Pero said his airline won’t see the benefits. According to him it will mean the airline will only break even, but it could start up an industry that could “grow and grow”.
The airline should be in a position to take up to 12 tons of pawpaw back to New Zealand every week.According to cookislandsnews.com, Pero said the fruit will need to be heat treated before flying to New Zealand. The heat treatment acts as an alternative to fumigation. He said the cost of obtaining the piece of equipment to do this is roughly $100,000, which is a matter for the Cook Islands to work out.