This past Sunday, June 6th, Guanacaste Airport – member of the VINCI Airports network – welcomed the first of the daily flights of the US airline Southwest, after more than a year of service interruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The B 737-700 aircraft arrived at 12:51 pm with 145 passengers on board from Houston, Texas. Now, all U.S. airlines that were flying to Guanacaste prior to the border closure have resumed operations.
“Having Southwest back is great news for the region, we are doing things right and that translates into airline confidence in our market. This reinforces Guanacaste Airport position as our traffic and operations recovery continue to growth, aligned to offering the highest customer service experience that has given us, for the third consecutive year, the award as the Best Airport in our region. As a member of VINCI Airports, it allows us to gather experience from around the world and position ourselves as a quality lead airport”, César Jaramillo, CORIPORT’s General Manager – concessionaire of the Airport stated.
Upon arrival, Southwest was greeted with the traditional water salute and passengers were given a gift of a Guanacaste souvenir. In addition to the daily flight from Houston Texas, Southwest is also adding a weekly flight from Baltimore, Maryland starting on June 12th.
Impulsing the Tico tourism industry
Gustavo J. Segura, Minister of Tourism, stated that “We are encouraged by Southwest’s resumption of operations to our two major air terminals offering strategic connections from Houston and Baltimore. This completes the comeback of all U.S. airlines that served Costa Rica prior to the pandemic. About 70% of international travelers to Costa Rica come from the United States, which is why Southwest’s return is so significant in terms of employment in the tourism industry”.
Back in 2015, Costa Rica was the first international destination chosen by Southwest including Guanacaste as part of the first Central American destinations to which it flew. “Southwest excitedly is reintroducing Costa Rica into our international network to connect our Customers once again with a warmth of hospitality across the Guanacaste region that reflects what we aim to deliver with each journey,” said Eleonor Pimentel, Southwest Airlines Regional Manager of International Operations.
Pimentel added, “We are grateful for a partnership with the team at LIR airport that allows us to easily bring Southwest Customers to and from Houston Hobby airport, and points beyond across the United States, with an ease of airport experience that complements our approach in making air travel friendly and reliable.”
Tourists traveling to or from Guanacaste Airport will be able to take their Covid-19 tests in its facilities, being the first airport terminal to offer this service in the country. Passengers traveling through the airport will also benefit from a consolidated sanitary protocol, in line with VINCI Airports’ Protecting Each Other campaign – a set of measures that comply with the best international standards. Indeed, Guanacaste Airport was one of the first airports in the world to be rewarded with the Airport Health Accreditation (AHA) of the Airport Council International (ACI).
Coriport is the Costa Rican government concessionaire since 2010 for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the new passenger terminal and associated ground facilities at Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport. Under its administration, the airport is managed with a 5-star Blue Flag, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 standards, in addition to being the first carbon neutral terminal in the region. LIR has been awarded Air Service Quality (ASQ) for 3 years in a row as the Best Airport in Latin America and Caribbean in its category of less than 2 million passengers per year.
About VINCI Airports
VINCI Airports, the leading private airport operator in the world, manages 52 airports in 12 countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Harnessing its expertise as a comprehensive integrator to develop, finance, build and operate airports, while leveraging investment capability and expertise in optimising operational performance, modernising infrastructure and driving environmental transition. VINCI Airports became the first airport operator to start rolling out an international environmental strategy, in 2016, with a view to achieving net zero emissions throughout its network by 2050.