Low Cost Carriers
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.
MEXICO CITY, Mexico. — The Mexican LCC Volaris celebrated its 7th birthday with a participation of the 22.1% of the market. Since its creation in 2006, Volaris has transported a total of 27,838,365 passengers. The airlines’ CEO, Enrique Beltranena remembered the low cost airline started with two Airbuses leased from TACA Airlines, from Toluca Airport in Mexico City to Tijuana and seven years later the carrier has 43 airliners and operates to 40 cities in Mexico and the United States. The airline is also well known as the most “cyber savvy” in Mexico with 527,971 followers in Facebook, 323,987 in Twitter and 80,200 in Google. The airline has a code-sharing agreement with the LCC Southwest Airlines and also with the German airline Condor. Volaris is owned by the Salvadoran Kriete Family (co-owners of TACA), the invest fund Discovery Americas and Indigo Partners (a fund led by the former CEO of America West, B. Franke). Volaris will be the second airline (after Avianca) to operate in Latin America the modern Airbus A-320s with “Sharklets”.