The new tentative date is in April
Other US airlines are still uncertain about resuming flights to and from Managua.
HAVANA TIMES – American Airlines has postponed its return to Nicaragua once again, reported La Prensa newspaper online. On October 11th, an announcement was made that American Airlines was planning to return to the country on January 4th. This date was then modified, and it was specified that the airline would return on March 3rd of this year, which has been rescheduled once again.
According to a recent update by travel agency Aeromundo, American Airlines could return to the country on April 5th this year. However, it remains unclear whether other US airlines, United Airlines and Spirit Airlines, will also return to Nicaragua in 2022.
Spirit Airlines, which is already flying to other Central American countries, has yet to set a date for returning to Nicaragua, as does United Airlines.
According to Visita Centroamerica’s records, Nicaragua had 11 airlines flying before the pandemic, including La Costeña, Aeromexico, Copa Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Cubana, Nature Air, Volaris, Avianca, Delta Airlines and Spirit Airlines.
Delta withdrew operations from the country in May 2018, which led to the loss of a direct connection with Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Only Copa Airlines, Avianca Airlines and Aeromexico are currently flying to the country. While La Costeña flies several domestic routes.
This situation has come as a blow to the finances of the state-run Administrative Company of International Airports (EAAI) in particular, which had recorded a deficit of 262.36 million cordobas (some 7.42 million USD), up until September last year.
Flights to and from Nicaragua are far more expensive for passengers as the airlines take advantage of the limited seats.
Why haven’t US airlines returned to Nicaragua yet?
Despite Augusto C. Sandino International Airport being the first in the region to reopen in July last year, Nicaragua is currently the only country in Central America that doesn’t have US airlines operating on its soil. It’s worth pointing out that these airlines withdrew their operations in the second trimester of 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Daniel Ortega’s regime hasn’t managed to get the airlines to come back after he said he wouldn’t look over and ammend his biosecurity protocol. In fact, a tourism industry representative recently explained to LA PRENSA that it is hard for these airlines, which are the key to reactivating Nicaraguan tourism, to give in and come back under current conditions in the country.
Troublesome measures adopted by the Government include sending a list of its passengers with negative PCR results to Civil Aeronautics authorities and to the Ministry of Health (MINSA). Another requirement is that airlines must send information about the kind of aircraft they are using to bring the crew, a requirement which normally only applies to charter flights.
[Editor’s note: The irony of the strict controls for airlines and their personnel is that within Nicaragua the government has done little to inform the population of anything regarding Covid-19 and has pretty much ignored the risks. Getting a test is only possible for those who can pay $150 dollars and only in Managua. Test result statistics are considered a state secret throughout the pandemic and have never been released. Likewise, the many thousands of deaths have never been acknowledged.]