Lufthansa has resumed flights to Costa Rica, with its first plane en route and scheduled for arrival at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
An Airbus A340-300 that can typically seat about 250 passengers is operating flight 518, the non-stop route from Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) to Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) near San José.
“The flights will last for the rest of our summer, which ends on October 24, 2020,” the airline told CRHoy.
“The return of our operation to San José is undoubtedly a great vote of confidence and leadership. We highlight the early measures taken in the region in favor of the resumption of tourism.”
Lufthansa’s website shows twice-weekly flights (Wednesdays and Saturdays) between the two countries.
“The Lufthansa Group airlines are thus responding to the growing interest of customers in air travel as travel restrictions and entry rules in various countries have gradually ben relaxed,” the airline said in May, when it first planned its Costa Rica flights.
Current Costa Rican border restrictions allow commercial flights from select countries, including the European Union. Visitors must purchase valid travel insurance and show proof of a negative PCR-RT test from a sample taken within 48 hours of their departure, among other measures.
Citizens and residents who enter Costa Rica do not need travel insurance or a negative test, but they are issued a 14-day home isolation order upon their arrival.
To help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, Lufthansa passengers must wear face masks throughout all flights. Airports, including SJO, also require masks and have adopted measures to encourage physical distancing.
“We are sure that with the support and constant evaluation of the measures necessary by the government and in coordination with the tourism sector, we now have a safe operation that will generate confidence in passengers and citizens,” said Daniel Serrano, regional director of Lufthansa.
Earlier this week, an Iberia flight from Spain represented the return of commercial air travel to Costa Rica in context of the coronavirus crisis:
Tourism comprises an estimated 8.2% of Costa Rica’s GDP, according to the Tourism Board.
In August, the Central American country will receive less than 1% of its pre-coronavirus flight volume. Still, Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura said the arrivals represent “drops of hope” for the sector.