US major Delta Air Lines is to launch a new link between Los Angeles International Airport and Juan Santamaría International Airport, the primary gateway to San José the capital of Costa Rica. The final agreement for the new route, which has been under discussion for a number of months, was formalised during the recent Routes Americas forum in Cartagena, Colombia.
The US carrier is planning to offer a daily rotation on the international route from July 1, 2013, operated by a Boeing 757-200. Delta Air Lines will be the first US carrier to serve the route in over five years after American Airlines ended its own daily seasonal operation in April 2008. Before then both American Airlines and United Airlines had also served the route for a limited period during the 1990s.
Subject to government approval, Delta will compete directly with LACSA on the new route. The national carrier of Costa Rica, LACSA is a subsidiary of Grupo TACA but is the only alliance member to continue to operate flights under its own International Air Transport Association (IATA) designation, due to licencing issues. It introduced flights on the route in June 2002 and has been serving this market continuously since then, currently flying a four times weekly schedule using an Airbus A319.
In 2012 an estimated 80,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew between Los Angeles and San José, up 13.1 per cent on the previous year. Over this period, LACSA’s own traffic has remained relatively stable but its share of the market has slipped from 30 per cent to 26 per cent, suggesting that the increase in demand over the last year has been through indirect air services between the two cities and the need for additional direct flights. Interestingly, despite rising costs for the airlines, average air fares on the route have fallen by around seven per cent between 2011 and 2012.
In an exclusive interview with The HUB at Routes Americas, Allan Flores Moya, Minister of Tourism, Costa Rica outlined more details about the important role that air transport plays in supporting the country’s economy and developing tourism. “The tourism strategy of Costa Rica is related directly to aviation,” he explained. “Sustainability is the key goal for Costa Rica tourism. We want to be a sustainable destination.”
According to the Minister, attendance at Routes Americas and World Routes through the years has been “great” for the country, and he confirmed that the participation in Cartagena this year has resulted in final agreements being reached with Canadian carrier WestJet on a new year-round service to Liberia and with Delta on this proposed new Los Angeles link.
You can view the full video interview with Allan Flores Moya, Minister of Tourism, Costa Rica below…
Allan Flores Moya, Minister of Tourism, Costa Rica revealed details of the new Delta Air Lines Link to Los Angeles at Routes Americas
You can find out more about the Costa Rican aviation market in our special Air Capacity Statistics: for a historical look at the development of the domestic market click here; for a historical look at the development of the international market click here; for an analysis of next week’s domestic and international capacity and how this compares with the same week last year, click here for the report by airlines and click here for the report by airports.