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Volaris freezes growth in Costa Rica, citing high operating costs

November 20, 2019

Enrique Javier Beltranena Mejicano, the CEO of Volaris, says the low-cost airline plans to “freeze growth in Costa Rica” in the face of high operating costs in the country.

In a post shared to his LinkedIn page, Beltranena also cited Costa Rica’s recent demotion to a Category 2 country in the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a move which prevents Costa Rican airlines from establishing new routes to the United States.

While Volaris is a Mexican company, it owns a subsidiary, Volaris Costa Rica, which has a hub at Juan Santamaría International Airport near San José. Costa Rica’s Civil Aviation Administration is working with the FAA to restore its Category 1 status.

“We at Volaris are assessing the situation with great interest,” Beltranena said. “In the meantime, our decision is to freeze growth in Costa Rica.”

The executive claimed Costa Rica has “the highest fuel costs in the region” and that the country’s aviation authorities are planning to increase airline fees at Juan Santamaría International Airport.

“This makes it unviable for any airline to develop as a local airline,” Beltranena said.

Costa Rica’s Civil Aviation Technical Council (CETAC) denied the claims of increased rates  for airlines in a statement issued by Casa Presidencial.

Volaris Costa Rica began operations in late 2016 with a route between San José and Guatemala City. When it launched, Fernando Naranjo, CEO of Volaris Costa Rica, said that the subsidiary hoped to operate between 18 and 22 aircraft by 2020.

According to Airfleets, Volaris Costa Rica currently operates just three Airbus A319 aircraft.

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