SAN JOSE, Costa Rica–March 7th marks the arrival of Southwest Airlines first flight into Central America. WN-602 from Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport arrived ontime to Alajuela’s Juan Santamaria International Airport full of American tourists hoping to enjoy the balmy weather of the hottest destination in Central America. Effective today, Southwest Airlines will operate daily flights from the BWI airport into Costa Rica. By November Southwest Airlines will also operate flights from Houston-Hobby International Airport to Costa Rica and also Belize, the second destination in Central America. Southwest is the latest LCC to open operations to Costa Rica (Interjet, Spirit Airlines, Frontier, jetBlue, Sun Country, Westjet, Rouge, Airtransat, and Sunjet already operate to San Jose or Liberia). It is expected that other LCC like Volaris of Mexico, Viva Colombia and GOL and Azul from Brazil could start flights into Costa Rica in the near future.
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.
MIAMI, Florida–In 2009, a professional group of airline managers acquired the intellectual property of Eastern Airlines to develop a new business plan and financing plan to re-launch the airline. The team put together a plan to re-launch Eastern to be based at Miami International Airport. It quickly established working relationships with strategic partners including the Miami Airport Authority, Amadeus and Airbus. Eastern’s relationship with Amadeus dates back to Eastern’s reservation system, called System One. This system was eventually sold by Eastern Airlines and later became the core of the Amadeus system. Eastern Airlines also has a special and unique relationship with Airbus dating to 1972, when Eastern Airlines became the launch airline customer for the Airbus A-300. The team developed a multi-level business and financing plan that is being used to raise the capital required for Eastern Airlines to certify under FAA Regulation Part 121. That work has commenced, led by one of the industry’s leading certification consultants, Locked On. Today, the new Eastern Airlines is working with various industry-leading aircraft leasing companies to assemble a fleet of A-319s and A-320s aircraft. In addition, Eastern Airlines has moved into its headquarters office space at Building 5A at Miami International Airport, which was the former “Eastern Operations Center”, a four story building at the corner of Le Jeune Road and 36th Street, and which once housed all of Eastern’s system control and maintenance control centers, and other operating units. The new Eastern Airlines is expected to operate flights from Miami International Airport to the Caribbean and Central and South America.
SAN PEDRO SULA,Honduras–Several hotel executives, Honduran incoming tour operators and the Minister of Tourism are currently organizing a meeting with Avianca’s upper management in Bogota for the first months of 2014. The group is hoping that Avianca will keep opening non-stop flights from the Bogota Hub into San Pedro-Sula and Coxen Hole in Roatan using Airbus A-318 jetliners. Avianca already operates non-stop flights from Bogota El Dorado International Airport to Panama City, San Jose, San Salvador and Guatemala City.
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica. — Located in the center of the Central American isthmus, Costa Rica is often called “The Heart of the Region”. The country is the power house of tourism and Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) that services San Jose/Alajuela is also located in the center of the nation. Since the privatization of the management of the terminal, the Juan Santamaria International Airport has become one of the most modern airport terminals in Latin America. It is one of the main important hubs of TACA Airlines (soon AVIANCA) and it is serviced by many airlines from the United States: American Airlines from Miami and Dallas, DELTA Airlines from Atlanta, United Airlines from Houston and Newark, US Airways from Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix, jetBlue from Orlando, Spirit Airlines from Fort Lauderdale and Frontier Airlines from Denver.In July DELTA Airlines will start daily non-stop from Los Angeles, jetBlue from Fort Lauderdale and United Airlines will start Saturday operations from Chicago and Washington-Dulles. Canadian carriers include Air Canada and Air Transat, Mexican carriers include AeroMexico and Interjet. IBERIA Airlines operates daily A-340-600 non-stop flights from Madrid and German carrier Condor twice weekly flights from Frankfurt. For 2013 and 2014 more airlines are expected to start operations and some names include Southwest/Air Tran Airways, Alaska Airlines and even an Asian carrier. AERIS is the private company that manages and administrates the airport, now considered the hub of Central America.