American Airlines formally requested the opening of seven flights to Costa Rica from the United States, starting on September 9. Two of them would come from Dallas, Texas, while five would come from Miami, Florida.
This was confirmed by the general director of Civil Aviation, Álvaro Vargas, who pointed out that the request, is “pending approval” and that the final offer will depend on the North American company. According to the official, the flights would be formally approved in the next few hours.
Currently, the country has enabled flights for US tourists who can demonstrate that they reside in 12 states in which, according to the health authorities, the epidemiological situation is stable. So far, they are Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Washington, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, and Virginia.
The Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, warned that the permits will be reviewed periodically and that they will be maintained or withdrawn depending on how the situation progresses in each space and the corresponding evaluations made by the Ministry of Health.
According to the Minister, it is part of a gradual opening process that is essential for the country’s tourism sector, which depends largely on the income it generates from sales to foreign consumers.
The United States has been the country’s main tourist “customer” internationally. Before the SARS-CoC-2 pandemic, Costa Rica received just under 350,000 people from the United States in the first half of 2020, by air; that is to say, more than half of the revenues recorded in said period (667,894 passengers).
Flights so far
The country has only approved five flights from the United States, all by United Airlines airline. The company is authorized to make five weekly flights from New York, four to Juan Santamaría Airport, and one to Daniel Oduber, in Liberia.
For the passengers on these flights, the country requests compliance with the same sanitary measures that were imposed on tourists from the European Union, Canada, and the United Kingdom, to whom the borders were opened since the beginning of August.
Specifically, they are asked for a negative PCR test for Covid-19 with a maximum of 48 hours, complete an epidemiological digital form from the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), purchase travel insurance that covers accommodation in case of quarantine, and possibly medical expenses for acute illness, and the verification of residence status via driver’s license or identification document that proves it.
The State Department recommended that the US population refrain from making “non-essential trips” to Costa Rica. The government entity alleged the criminality in the country and the risk of contagion from Covid-19, which implies the possibility of resorting to medical resources that “may be limited.”
Air borders have been closed for five and a half months from the United States. The country first established a total closure for the entry of non-Costa Rican citizens between mid-March and the beginning of August, and for United States citizens until this September.