COPA-owned discount carrier Wingo inaugurated their San José-Bogotá service this week, after a two-year absence from Costa Rican airspace.
Wingo formerly provided service to Costa Rica from Guatemala and Panama, but according to La Nacion in June, they found that there wasn’t enough demand for low-cost travel to justify continuing the service and discontinued it.
A quick search for a ticket from Bogotá to San José on Expedia for October 15 found a whole lot of results for Copa flights, none for Wingo. Perhaps they’re only doing direct bookings, or just haven’t yet been added to the Expedia pool, but by the look of things, they’ll be competing most directly with their own parent company’s flights, which doesn’t sound very practical.
The Wingo website itself shows tickets for as low as $71 one-way, but of course doesn’t include any of the extras, like checked luggage or reserved seats. Still, once those are added, it will undoubtedly still be a cheaper deal than Copa or Avianca. The question is, will there be enough budget-oriented customers who want to go to Costa Rica? (Or will Wingo’s target market for the San José-Bogotá service ultimately be Costa Ricans who wish to travel to Bogotá?)
As great a destination as Costa Rica is, tourism tends to be dominated by U.S. travellers, which must generally position the market above the mean for many budget-oriented travellers, especially perhaps those from Latin America. While we are cautiously optimistic, whether there will be sufficient budget-oriented travel from Bogotá to make the service viable remains to be seen.
(Images: AviacionCR on Facebook)