SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador–Viva Colombia’s Commercial Vice-President William Shaw, declared the airline is analyzing opening flights to the Central American capitals. Shaw attended the ROUTES AMERICAS symposium held at the Sheraton Hotel in the Salvadorian capital. “We are looking into the route to El Salvador or even to have a base in El Salvador”, Shaw declared. “The Central American region really needs a low cost carrier”. El Salvador’s Minister of Tourism, Jose Napoleon Duarte confirmed the negotiations with Viva Colombia are well advanced. Shaw insisted the interest of Viva Colombia for El Salvador is mainly because two things, the great tourist potential the country has and the Salvadorians that live outside their nation, up to 3 million and from those, 2,5 million in the United States. “We still don’t have anything defined, but with the aid of the Minister of Tourism of El Salvador, soon we will be announcing our decision” concluded William Shaw. Viva Colombia announced several months ago its plans to expand to destinations like Panama and Costa Rica. The entrance of Viva Colombia to the market will make the competition fierce between the legacy carriers like Avianca and COPA Airlines, and the low cost carriers like Viva Colombia and Salvadorian start-up VECA Airlines that should start operations in the next months.
BOGOTA, Colombia–“Avianca has decided effective July start flights between Bogota and London non-stop, as part of the new push of our commercial and political relations between the two nations”, informed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. This will be the first Colombian airline to start flights between El Dorado International Airport and Heathrow Airport in the U.K. The airline already operates wide bodied Airbus A-330 from Bogota to Madrid and Barcelona in Spain. Avianca will be receiving four Boeing 787 Dreamliner by September 2014, long haul aircraft that will dedicated for the European routes, indicated Fabio Villegas. Frankfurt and Paris are also being considered by the second biggest airline in Latin America. The flights to London will start in July using the wide bodied Airbus A-330. The flight will be fed by Avianca flights from Central America, Mexico, Caribbean and South America into El Dorado for connections to the U.K. London-Heathrow will become an important connecting point for Avianca with other Star Alliance airlines and one in particular, Air India that should become a full member by the end of 2014. The growth of commerce between Latin America and India has been important in the recent years. Another European airline, TAP Portugal announced future services to Bogota (Avianca’s main hub) and Panama City (COPA Airlines main hub) from Lisbon.
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica–The main stockholders of Air Panama, George Novey and Eduardo Stagg have now invested in Costa Rican start-up Tica Air International. Carlos Viquez, the representative of the Costa Rican airline informed that Air Panama will transfer one of its Boeing 737-300 to the start-up for the opening of the route San Jose-Miami (that was abandoned in January by Avianca). “Costa Rica has always been a good place to invest and now more than ever with Avianca’s departure of several non-stop markets” said Eduardo Stagg, CEO of Air Panama. Viquez informed that it is expected for Tica Air International to start operations by December 2014. TAI is the second airline project in Costa Rica, after Gino Renzi’s Ticos Air. Alvaro Vargas, the Civil Aviation board (DGAC) director informed that Ticos Air still has not been able to move to the third phase of its certification, since it has not presented any of the 5 Airbus A-319s that Gino Renzi advised the airline would operate. Rumors in Costa Rica are that Ticos Air still has not been able to secure investors for the project. The advantage that TAI would have is the economic support from Air Panama, the second biggest and most important airline in Panama, that also operates flights to San Jose with a jet Fokker 100. “The idea is that both airlines should grow together, using scale economies”, conmmented Eduardo Stagg. Tica Air International is expected to open flights to Managua, David, Bocas del Toro and San Andres.
TELA BAY, Honduras–On March 15th, the deluxe Indura Beach & Golf Resort will open in Tela Bay on the northern coast of Honduras. Just 50 minutes north of San Pedro-Sula International Airport, Indura is the first five star resort in the Central American country. The name of the resort is the translation of “Honduras” in the garifuna language and will feature a state-of-the-art golf course designed by Gary Player. A unique golf course surrounded by native mangroves and palm trees, local flora and fauna, and spectacular views of the Caribbean coastline. Dotting a lush tropical landscape the 60 junior suites are scattered in 15 villas that are interconnected by footpaths that meander to a pristine beach. The design incorporates the liberal use of local Honduran products and sustainable materials, including bamboo floors, walls of local pine, San Juan wood doors and decorative accents of Guanacaste wood. Anchored in the culinary traditions of Honduras, dining at Indura Beach & Golf Resort will be a relaxing, authentic experience that pairs indigenous ingredients grown on the property with local fare prepared with recipes and techniques borrowed from the Garifuna and South American cultures. The resulting dishes capture the essence of this corner of paradise while still remaining flavorful and familiar. The first of its kind in Honduras, the spa will be a reflection of an immersion in the culture of Honduras, both in design and development of treatments. A philosophy in tune with nature’s elements, Maina will be a sanctuary of relaxed simplicity designed around fragrant and serene water gardens. Gentle sea breezes will pass through private spa “casitas” capturing the essence of local flora while sunlight and shadows play lightly throughout the space. An outdoor lifestyle is fostered in the relaxation areas comprised of terraces, balconies and pools. Guests of Indura Beach & Golf Resort will be able to enjoy the resort but also the picturesque Jeannette Kawas National Park, a treasure trove of beaches, wetlands, tropical forests, coral reefs and lagoons and the Laguna de los Micos and the Lancetilla Botanical Gardens plus one-day tours to the Copan Archaeological Park. Even though the Honduran government plans to upgrade Tela Bay Airport, the best way to reach the resort from the U.S. will be using San Pedro-Sula’s International Airport that is serviced by American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Avianca.