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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Southwest Airlines routes to Costa Rica remain suspended

As of mid-March, Southwest Airlines remains the only U.S. airline that has not resumed any service to Costa Rica since suspending flights due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On its website, Southwest Airlines indicates “service will resume at a later date” to Costa Rica, The Bahamas, Belize, Grand Cayman, and Turks and Caicos.

As of this story’s publication, the Southwest Airlines’ so-called “Low Fare Calendar” lists no tickets available for purchase to or from Costa Rica’s airports through at least August.

Many other airlines have retaken routes to Costa Rica, including Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit and United.

Since the end of January, Canadian airlines — Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat — have suspended service to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Those routes are expected to resume in May.

Costa Rica has remained open to international tourists since November 1. Visitors are no longer required to have a negative coronavirus test, though travel medical insurance is necessary.

“Thanks to the effort to promote Costa Rica as a safe destination, which respects health protocols, in 2020 our country managed to resume flights” with many airlines, President Carlos Alvarado said in a statement.

In addition, Costa Rica welcomed new routes from United Airlines and JetBlue. Both carriers introduced direct flights from Los Angeles, while United Airlines also launched flights from Denver to the San José area.

“Despite the effects of the pandemic, little by little we see signs of recovery in the tourism industry and as a result, a direct boost to the well-being of many of the country’s families,” President Alvarado said.

Tourism is “one of the main engines of the country’s economy,” the Costa Rica Tourism Board says, comprising an estimated 8.2% of Costa Rica’s gross domestic product (GDP) and creating 9% of its jobs in 2019. Before the pandemic, Southwest Airlines offered direct flights to Costa Rica from Houston, Fort Lauderdale, and Baltimore/Washington, per the airline.

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