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Businesses benefit from regional low-cost flights

Monday, July 24, 2017

Operating a transborder business in Central America is becoming easier, as options grow for low-cost regional air travel.

Since last December, Volaris Costa Rica has linked five pairs of Central American cities: San José-Guatemala City, San José-San Salvador, San José-Managua, San Salvador-Guatemala City, and San Salvador-Managua.

With prices generally less than $250 for a return flight, Volaris Costa Rica expects to make intra-regional travel accessible for small and medium businesses, which previously had a choice of either slow bus transport, or expensive air travel.

A subsidiary of Mexico-based Concesionaria Vuela Compañía de Aviación, S.A.B. de C.V, which operates Volaris Mexico, the Costa Rican airline provides no-frills service, including one class of passengers and one type of aircraft - Airbus A320.

The region’s other main carriers, Colombia-based Avianca and Panama`s Copa Airlines, offer various amenities, along with business-class travel, extensive connections, and major mileage programs.

Low-cost carriers comprised only 11% of seats flown this month in Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Of 503,000 total seats in the week of July 10 to July 17, only 57,000 were low-cost, flown mainly by Volaris Costa Rica, according to the Center for Aviation.

Low-cost seats represented just 3% of the total in Panama, whose aviation market is dominated by flights with international transfers.