Southwest Airlines Inaugurates Direct Route Between Costa Rica and Orlando, Florida

    Direct flight will be operating with a daily frequency

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    As of this past week, a new direct route was inaugurated between Juan Santamaría International Airport in Costa Rica, and Orlando International Airport in the United States, through Southwest Airlines.

    The first flight of this route arrived at 12:45 noon with 176 passengers. This new route, which will have a daily frequency, strengthens connectivity and represents a significant boost for both markets, promoting cultural, economic and tourism exchange in both countries.

    Great potential

    In the tourism context, this specific route has great potential to increase the flow of visitors between Costa Rica and the United States. Costa Rica is a highly valued destination for its natural beauty, biodiversity and commitment to sustainable tourism, characteristics that attract international tourists in search of authentic and ecological experiences.

    According to data from the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), the number of tourists coming from the United States to Costa Rica increased by almost 50% between 2014 and 2023, with more than 1.4 million passengers during the last year by air. In addition, during the first four months of this year, the entry of 643 141 U.S. travelers by the same route was recorded, consolidating the United States as the main tourist issuing market to Costa Rica.

    Fundamental connectivity

    “Connectivity with the United States is fundamental for us; because it is our main market. More than 60% of the tourists that come to Costa Rica are from the United States and having a new connection to a city that is important, not only for tourism exports, but also for what it has and represents in the United States is fundamental. Costa Rica is the third country after Mexico and Canada, in attracting the most important North American airlines, so this inaugural flight of Southwest Airlines from Orlando, is a confirmation that we are an attractive destination for airlines, a destination that gives them profits and profits, this benefits not only the Americans who come but also the Ticos who go, we have that feature that few countries have”, said William Rodriguez, Minister of Tourism.

    The opening of this new air route represents a joint work between the Costa Rican Tourism Institute and AERIS, manager of the Juan Santamaria International Airport; this daily flight will depart from Costa Rica at 8:55 a.m. and will arrive in Orlando at 2:15 p.m. and for the return flight will leave Orlando at 11:30 a.m. to arrive in Costa Rica at 12:45 p.m.

    “At AERIS, we are proud to welcome Southwest Airlines’ first direct flight from the city of Orlando. This new connection is a testament to the growth and importance of Juan Santamaria International Airport at a national and regional level. We continue to work hard to offer airlines and passengers a high quality experience, facilitating the growth of tourism and the local economy,” said Ricardo Hernandez, executive director of AERIS.

    Many connections available

    In this way, Juan Santamaría International Airport connects Costa Rica with 39 destinations around the world, through the operation of 25 airlines, which contributes significantly to the integral development of the aeronautical and tourism sector in the region. During 2023, more than 5.6 million passengers transited through Costa Rica’s main air terminal, representing an increase of 21.8% over the previous year.

    Manuel de Oryazábal, Strategy Manager for Southwest Airlines, stated that “Southwest offers convenient, non-stop flights from San José to four regions in the United States: Denver, Houston, Orlando and Baltimore/Washington DC”. De Oryazábal also noted that “this is the only airline that allows you to check two pieces of luggage at no charge (within certain weight and size limits), plus one carry-on and one personal item, no change or cancellation fees, frequent flyer points and flight credits that do not expire, free in-flight entertainment, free refreshments, and the legendary Hospitality and comfort that Southwest is known for.

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