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Southwest Airlines plans June return to Costa Rica

Southwest Airlines plans to resume flights to Costa Rica in early June, and tickets are on-sale now.

The Texas-based carrier is the only U.S. airline that has not retaken any service to Costa Rica since suspending flights due to the coronavirus pandemic. But that will soon change with routes to both the San José area (SJO) and Liberia, Guanacaste (LIR).

The airline’s timetables show service from Houston (Hobby) to SJO starting June 6. Nonstop service from Baltimore-Washington D.C. to LIR will also begin in early June.

Before the pandemic, Southwest Airlines also flew to Costa Rica from Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL). That is now a heavily congested route — with competition from Spirit, Frontier, JetBlue and American Airlines (to Miami) — and Southwest does not appear to have a planned restart date for that service.

Costa Rica has remained open to international tourists since November 1.

U.S. airlines that have retaken routes to Costa Rica include Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit and United. Frontier Airlines will soon inaugurate new service to Costa Rica after an absence of several years.

Visitors to Costa Rica are not required to have a negative coronavirus test, though travel medical insurance is necessary.

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.

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