Air Rarotonga, the airline of the Cook Islands, is to replace its Saab 340A regional airliner with a later model Saab 340B model. The new aircraft is expected to arrive in the Cook Islands by the end of May. While externally very similar, the Saab 340B has more powerful engines, carries more payload, and features an active noise control system that significantly reduces cabin noise levels, improving the overall passenger comfort.

The company’s outgoing Saab 340A entered service in the year 2000, and has provided the backbone of Air Rarotonga’s schedule between Rarotonga (RAR) and Aitutaki (AIT), carrying more than 1 million passengers in that time.

“We are in our 40th year of inter-island service, and our 340A has been in operation with us for almost half of that time”, commented Air Rarotonga Managing Director Ewan Smith. “It has been a reliable workhorse, operating the Aitutaki schedule with an accuracy you could almost set your watch by. We expect a similar performance from the new aircraft.”

Air Rarotonga’s new Saab 340B is currently in the U.S., undergoing substantial maintenance, as well a new paint job before it will be delivered to the airline in a few weeks.