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Air travel: flying high

Monday, May 26, 2014

Last week saw the announcements of four new services, involving Central America, Mexico and South America.

Turkish Airlines will next year start flying to Bogota, Mexico City and Havana, said the company’s president, Temel Kotil, at last week’s International Transport Forum in Leipzig.

The Bogota service is likely to include a stop in Caracas.

The airline currently connects Istanbul with Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo.

A new regional airline, Air Costa Rica, will as of late 2014 or early 2015 provide daily connections between San José and each of Managua, Panama and Miami.

The airline will use two Boeing 737-300 aircfraft on its routes, which seek to replace connections, which are no longer offered by competitors, and to respond to demand.

Early this year, Bogota-based Avianca canceled its San José-Miami service, leaving only American Airlines with non-stop flights between the two cities.

In Central America, Managua and Panama are the destinations of highest demand for Costa Rican air travelers.

Air Costa Rica expects to compete on price, with planned return economy-class fares of just over $400 to Miami, and around $350 for each of Managua and Panama.

In a third initiative announced last week, Alaska Airlines said it was seeking approval for seasonal service between its hub in Portland and the Mexican beach destinations of Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta.

In addition, JetBlue will next November launch a seasonal flight between Boston and Liberia, the hub of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Province, a major tourism destination.

In earlier news Honduran airline Sosa last January began operating direct flights last month between the Honduran cities of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, and the capital of Guatemala.

The airline previously only operated within Honduras, and to the Cayman Islands.

Last year, Colombian carrier Avianca started an aggressive expansion campaign to connect not only Colombia to international destinations, but also connectivity for Central American passengers.

In the second half of 2013, Avianca launched flights from El Salvador to Chicago and from Honduras to Newark, as well as starting direct flights from Bogotá to Guatemala.

In addition, Avianca will in July start direct flights from Bogota to London.

For its part, Panama-based Copa this year started direct flights to Montreal, Canada; Georgetown, Guyana; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Copa in 2013 inaugurated direct service to each of Tampa, Boston and Las Vegas.