After the Cook Islands opened to quarantine free travel last Friday, another air link is being proposed to open up more of the Pacific Island to New Zealand travellers.
Air Rarotonga has proposed a new direct service between Niue and Rarotonga could launch by the middle of this year.
The Airline's managing director Ewan Smith said that despite a relatively slow take up of quarantine free travel to the Cook Islands, the indicators are good for winter and the second half of the year.
Especially with the potential of new destinations opening up to quarantine free travel from New Zealand.
The airline was working with travel agencies in New Zealand to offer itineraries via Auckland visiting both the Cook Islands and Niue
"We have now just about completed the approval process to allow operations with our Saab 340Bs, which changes the dynamic quite a bit," says Smith.
Offering the charter link between Rarotonga and Niue for 28-30 passengers, he described it was "a good fit with the accommodation inventory in Niue."
Currently, Niue is only open to Niuean residents and those granted special exemptions. Air New Zealand is operating a reduced service, with one fortnightly flight from Auckland.
From last week, Niue introduced a shorter MIQ period for returnees to the island, as a step towards reopening to international travel.
"We have done all we can to keep Niue safe, and this shorter stay in MIQ is our phased plan to open up our island again." says Niuean Premier Tagelagi.
The reduction of from 14 to 10 days in isolation and requirements for arrivals to be fully vaccinated are part of the reopening plan.
While the emergence of new variants were of concern, Tagelagi said Niue was "confident that this reduced period of isolation for Niue MIQ will become the new standard as it has for New Zealand and other countries."
In December Niue announced that its eligible population over 12 was 98 per cent vaccinated against Covid-19, offering similar levels to the Cook Islands.
Although Niue has not made any announcements on a reopening date the border is likely to remain closed to us until June at least, predicts Smith.
From the middle of the year Air Rarotonga say that it plans to run a number of charter groups, as New Zealand leisure travellers look to explore the nearby Pacific Islands and go looking for winter sun.
From April the Cook Islands are scheduled to see an increase in flights from New Zealand, with additional services from Air New Zealand and Jetstar.
The Covid pandemic has seen a significant uptick for charter operators in the Pacific. While regular commercial links had been greatly reduced, travellers have been relying on charter flights to navigate the region.