Southwest Airlines said Friday that it has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation to add its first destination in Central America with daily round-trip service between Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport and Juan Santamaria airport in Alajuela, beginning March 7. The service would link the countries’ capital regions.
“We’re ready to add the adventure and beauty of Costa Rica to a growing horizon of international possibility available to the more than 100 million customers who fly with us each year,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines chairman, president and CEO. He spoke before a breakfast meeting of the Greater Washington Board of Trade in Washington. “Our People and policies bring unique value to the travel experience and we have big plans to extend that value to international destinations where our Customers want to go. Our substantial presence in Baltimore/Washington is a natural place to do that by bringing nonstop access to new, international markets.”
“Costa Ricans share an essence of friendliness and hospitality for which Southwest Airlines is also known,” said Wilhelm von Breymann Barquero, minister of Turismo. “We look forward to offering the nature, culture, history, cuisine, adventure, peace and prosperity of Costa Rica to even more visitors from the United States.”
Costa Rica will be the sixth near-international country served by Southwest Airlines from its U.S. gateway cities and the first new destination in the carrier’s network after the integration of wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways is completed by the end of this year. Service to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Mexico City begins Nov. 2, as Southwest converts existing AirTran service in those destinations. Southwest began service this summer to Aruba, The Bahamas, Jamaica, and both Cancun and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, Mexico. Tickets to San José, Costa Rica, will be available for sale as soon as the necessary Department of Transportation approvals are secured.
Southwest Airlines began service from Baltimore/Washington in September 1993, with 10 flights offering scheduled service through nonstop destinations Chicago (Midway) and Cleveland.
Based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent data, Southwest Airlines is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. The company operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world, a majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi connectivity while over the United States that enables video-on-demand and a free, live TV offering of 13 channels compliments of DISH.