Costa Rica's big week for new flights

We like aviation, can you tell?

It’ll soon be easier than ever to visit Costa Rica.

This week, three different airlines announced new service to Costa Rica from the United States. Each route will start later this year and contribute to what the country hopes will be a significant tourism rebound.

From an aviation enthusiast’s perspective, each new flight represents a pretty interesting story. Let’s dive in:

Spirit Airlines from Miami, Fla.

The flight details: Miami (MIA) to the San José area (SJO) 4x weekly.

When it launches: November 17, 2021.

Why it’s interesting: Spirit historically hasn’t flown to/from Miami, period. Instead, it has prioritized nearby Fort Lauderdale (FLL) as its South Florida hub. The new flights from MIA are a direct challenge to American Airlines, which also serves Costa Rica from that airport. More competition (hopefully) means lower prices.

Competition on Florida-to-Costa Rica routes is heating up. SJO has nonstop service on five different airlines (American, Spirit, Avianca, Frontier and JetBlue) from three different airports (MIA, FLL and Orlando).

American Airlines from Austin, Tx.

The flight details: Austin (AUS) to Liberia, Guanacaste (LIR) 4x weekly.

When it launches: November 2, 2021.

Why it’s interesting: This flight is part of a significant expansion for American Airlines at AUS. The Texas-based carrier is adding 14 new routes — 10 domestic and four international.

This is the first time Costa Rica will have regular nonstop service from Austin. When the flight launches, it’ll give Costa Rica nonstop flights from four of Texas’s five busiest airports: Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Houston (IAH), Austin (AUS), and Houston Hobby (HOU).

Southwest Airlines from Denver, Co.

The flight details: Denver (DEN) to LIR once weekly.

When it launches: November 13, 2021.

Why it’s interesting: United and Southwest are the two airlines with the largest market share at Denver International Airport. Now, they will compete directly on the DEN-LIR route… and more competition is better for the consumer.

Notably, LIR has or is adding routes from many U.S. cities that don’t serve SJO:

  • Austin (American).

  • Baltimore/Washington (Southwest).

  • San Francisco (United).

  • Minneapolis (Delta)

  • Boston (JetBlue)

This could reflect a growing preference to fly into LIR rather than SJO for tourists.

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