LIBERIA, Costa Rica–In January 2012, CORIPORT S.A., the company that manages Liberia International Airport (LIR) in the northern province of Guanacaste, inagurated a new state-of-the-art airport terminal. Months after the opening of the terminal, several airlines from the United States and Canada decided to start operations to the airport, well-known as the “gateway” to the Golden Coast of Costa Rica, or often called the Costa Rican Riviera. “We hope new airlines will start services to AIDO (Aeropuerto Internacional Daniel Oduber) in 2015” declared Francisco Cordero, the Commercial Director of CORIPORT S.A. to La Republica newspaper. “We were able to attract British carrier Thomson Airways. The airline will connect London with Liberia in November 2015. Some airlines opperate to Liberia and not to San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport, like WestJet and Sun Country”. Liberia International Airport is just 30 minutes away from the high end resorts in Papagayo Bay like Foru Seasons, Hilton and Hyatt Andaz and an hour away from Matapalo Beach, Mansita Beach and Conchal Beach where RIU, JW Marriott and Westin are located respectively. “On 2012, when we opened the new terminal, we grew 20% in reference to the years before and we grow 14% each month. Our goal is to close 2014 with 700 thousand passengers using Liberia International Airport as their gateway to Costa Rica”, concluded Cordero. CORIPORT S.A. has been already in talks with three airlines and once they reach an agreement they will be disclosed. JetBlue Airways started flights in November from Boston to Guanacaste every Saturday. At the moment the airport has seven positions, 4 with jetways and 3 remote ones. The expansion plans after 2016 include more jetways and ramps. The airport terminal also has been declared by U.S. travel and leisure magazines as one of the most user-friendly terminals in Latin America.
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica–The U.S. low cost carrier Spirit Airlines said Monday it would open four weekly flights between San José and Houston beginning on May 28, 2015.The airline plans to open the new route to Costa Rica as part of its expansion in Latin America, the company said. Flights will use an Airbus A319 and A320 with the capacity to accommodate 178 passengers. Alberto López, general manager of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), said the carrier’s announcement is important for the country as it will be the first flight of a low-cost airline from the central region of the U.S. to Costa Rica. “Texas is the third largest state where the best traveler prospects for our country live, which means its residents have a high interest in visiting or returning to Costa Rica. This new route and four weekly flights will increase the number of seats available and the number of tourists visiting our country,” López said on Monday evening. ICT studies show that Texas has 2 million residents who could be considered as top prospects for tourism in the region. “Texans are seasoned travelers with high income and higher education levels,” the ICT claims. Official reports also state that during the first nine months of this year, some 740,000 U.S. travelers entered the country by air with a tourist visa. U.S. tourists who entered Costa Rica in 2013 remained on average 10.4 nights and spent an average of $1,232 during their stay. Spirit’s announcement adds to five other airlines that have scheduled new flights to the country. Aeroméxico, JetBlue, Delta Airlines and United Airlines will increase flights to the country’s two international airports, Juan Santamaría, outside the capital, and Daniel Oduber, in Liberia City in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. Last week, German carrier Condor started its third weekly flight to Costa Rica, and Cubana Airlines on Sunday resumed nonstop flights to Cuba. Thomson Airways and Southwest Airlines confirmed new flights in 2015, while Turkish Airlines, VECA Airlines and VivaColombia currently are in negotiations for opening routes to Costa Rica in 2015. Also Costa Rican start-up Air Costa Rica should start flights from San Jose to Miami, San Andres Island, Central America and Mexico with two Boeing 737-300s. ICT executives also hope that Spirit Airlines would consider Liberia Airport in the near future from both Ft. Lauderdale and Houston.
LIBERIA, Guanacaste–British charter airline Thomson Airways announced its first route to Costa Rica. The airline will fly nonstop between London and Liberia, starting November 2015.The Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) said the airline will fly once a week from London’s Gatwick Airport. Each airplane will have a capacity for 291 passengers. ICT data indicate that the UK is the fourth largest source of tourists from Europe to Costa Rica. Last year alone the ICT recorded 35,198 tourists from the United Kingdom and Ireland. That’s a 10.2 percent increase in arrivals from 2012.British tourists stayed an average of 14.5 nights in Costa Rica and spent $94, ICT stated.Last Friday, Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister Manuel González Sanz reported that he held a meeting with the CEO and senior executives of Turkish Airlines and began studying options for opening non-stop flights between Turkey and Costa Rica. The officials met during activities held during the opening of Costa Rica’s new embassy in Ankara. The embassy in the Turkish capital is the first new diplomatic office created under the Solís administration.