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Southwest Returns To Guanacaste, Costa Rica After Over A Year



Southwest Airlines resumed flights to Costa Rica on the weekend after a year-long hiatus. The Central American country was a longtime Southwest destination, but the airline suspended flights in early 2020. On Sunday, Southwest Airlines recommenced two flights into Costa Rica, one to Alajuela, San Jose (SJO), and the other to  Liberia, Guanacaste (LIR).

After an absence of more than one year, Southwest Airlines headed back to Costa Rica on the weekend. Photo: Southwest Airlines

“We’re excited to continue reestablishing previously served international service by reuniting the warm hospitality of Costa Rica with the heart and value of Southwest,” said Southwest’s Andrew Watterson.

Southwest resumes flights to Liberia, Guanacaste & Alajuela, San Jose

On Sunday, Southwest Airlines kicked off daily nonstop flights from Houston’s Hobby Airport (HOU) to Liberia, Guanacaste, and Alajuela, San Jose. The Southwest flight to Liberia, WN691, pushes back daily from Houston at 10:45 to land at Liberia’s Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport at 13:10. The return service to Houston, WN817, departs Liberia at 14:10 and touches down in Houston at 18:35. Flying time is around three and a half hours.

Passengers heading to Alajuela depart Houston Hobby Airport on WN122 at 17:05 and arrive at Alajuela’s Juan Santamaría International Airport at 19:40. The return service to Houston, WN1203, leaves Alajuela at 08:00 every morning and lands back in Houston at 12:45.

Next week, Southwest Airlines will commence a seasonal weekly service between Baltimore/Washington Airport (BWI) and Liberia, Guanacaste. Beginning Saturday, June 12, WN809 will push back from BWI at 08:25 and touch down in Liberia at 11:15. After 55 minutes on the ground, WN810 will depart Liberia at 12:10 and arrive back at BWI at 19:05.

Southwest Airlines will fly to Costa Rica from Houston Hobby and BWI Airports. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Southwest joins a long list of airlines flying into Costa Rica

With Southwest Airlines back in Costa Rica, eight United States-based airlines are now flying in. In July, when Frontier Airlines resumes flights, it will see nine US-based airlines servicing Costa Rica. Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines all fly in.

“The restart of Southwest is great news for the region,” says Liberia Airport’s General Manager César Jaramillo. “We are doing things well, and that translates into a confidence of the airlines in our market.”

145 passengers were onboard the first Southwest flight to Liberia. Southwest had flown to Costa Rica since 2015, until the airline suspended its flights last year. For Costa Rica, these flights are vital. Tourism is one of Costa Rica’s biggest income earners, and 70% of those tourists come from the United States. Costa Rica needs airlines like Southwest to bring in those tourists.

Costa Rica is reopening to tourists and that brings in the airlines. Southwest Airlines

Costa Rica reopens to tourists

Just outside Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose, Juan Santamaría International Airport is the country’s busiest. On Sunday, when Southwest Airlines resumed its flights from Houston, the airport handled 110 flights. That’s just shy of the number of daily flights the airport hosted at the same time in 2019. This time last year, the airport was handling around 20 flights a day.

Aiding that rebound was the country reopening to tourists late in 2020. More recently, Costa Rica has relaxed entry restrictions further, reopening land border in April. Currently, arrivals from the United States don’t need negative test results. Instead, passengers need to fill in an online health questionnaire before arrival. That generates a QR code which is shown on arrival. Easy.

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines continues to resume flights into markets it had previously served. On Sunday, the same day Costa Rica-bound flights took off, Southwest headed back to Jackson, Mississippi.

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Sunday Reads: Our Most Notable Stories This Week



Welcome back to Simple Flying’s weekly ‘Sunday Reads’ newsletter! Let’s take a look at what some of our most notable stories have been over the past seven days.

Abramovich 767
Roman Abramovich’s ‘Bandit’ features the same anti-ballistic system as Air Force One. Photo: Papas Dos via Wikimedia Commons

Roman Abramovich’s Private Jet

Having spent time in recent weeks looking at Mark Cuban’s and Bill Gates’s private jets, this time around we turned our attention to Russian billionaire and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich. The oligarch philanthropist has a private 767 known as ‘The Bandit,’ fitted with features like a gold-gilded banquet hall and an anti-ballistic system.

Multiple Bird Strikes Make American Airlines 737 MAX Abandon Take Off

An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX recently had to abort its departure from St Vincent and the Grenadines after encountering multiple bird strikes during its takeoff roll. Bystanders captured the incident on video. You can see it unfold here.

American re-introduced the MAX last December. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

How Much Is A Boeing 747-8 Worth In 2021?

The Boeing 747-8 has not performed as well commercially as the 747-400 that preceded it. This is a reflection of increasing trends among the airline industry away from larger quadjets. On the other hand, the type has seen more promise as a large cargo aircraft. With these two stories in mind, we took a look at how much a 747-8 is currently worth.

Boeing 747-8, Value, 2021
How much is a Boeing 747-8 worth in 2021? Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

How Much Does It Cost BA To Fly An Airbus A380 to Los Angeles?

Before the ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced airlines to ground their Airbus A380, British Airways often deployed the superjumbo on its London-Los Angeles route. But how much does it cost to operate the double-decker on this route? You can find out here.

BA’s A380s used to be a fairly common sight at LAX. Photo: Getty Images.

Historic Boeing 707 Scrapped In Hamburg

The former Lufthansa Boeing 707 that had been stored at Germany’s Hamburg Airport has finally been moved across the airfield for scrapping. This has come about despite an attempt from enthusiasts to save the plane, which raised €8,000 ($9,750).

Lufthansa, Boeing 707, Scrapped
Enthusiasts were sadly unable to save the ex-Lufthansa Boeing 707. Photo: Lufthansa

Air Peace Foils Baby Smuggling Plot

For the third time in three years, employees of Nigerian carrier Air Peace have heroically put a stop to a case of child trafficking. The smugglers in question had been about to board a Lagos-Asaba flight with two babies. You can read more about this story here.

Air Peace personnel in Lagos foiled a baby smuggling attempt on Monday. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

If you’d like us to send you the week’s top stories in a weekly e-newsletter, you can sign up to the mailing list here. See you next week!

What was your favorite story this week? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Iberia To Grow Its Maintenance Facilities In Barcelona



While primarily committed to its central hub at Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD), Iberia says it is boosting its heavy maintenance business in Barcelona. In a statement released by the airline on June 11, 2021, Iberia says that it wants to further develop its maintenance presence at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN).

Iberia getty
Iberia will use its Barcelona hangar to service Vueling planes. Photo: Getty Images

The Spanish national flag carrier says that the move is a part of its new business strategy to increase heavy maintenance work at its Barcelona base. By doing this, Iberia wants to show that it is committed to the Catalan capital’s major airport.

Iberia wants to help grow El Prat

By reinforcing its presence at El Prat, Iberia plans to provide highly skilled jobs that will help contribute to a greater reindustrialization of the airport’s area of influence. In other words, Iberia plans to help consolidate BCN into a major aeronautical hub.

  • Iberia will help contribute to El Prat becoming a major aeronautical hub.
  • Aircraft maintenance will be enhanced by building on its current C 1 capabilities with investments and back shops to allow Iberia to become a heavy maintenance provider at El Prat.
  • A team of more than 300 highly qualified professionals will help service Airbus A320 family aircraft.
  • Iberia’s commitment will be boosted by fellow IAG owned airline Vueling’s commitment to carry out its maintenance work at Iberia’s Barcelona hangar.

Vueling will service its aircraft at the facility

Iberia says that it will adapt its El Prat hangar with investment and build upon its current C check capabilities. C check is a thorough check of individual systems and parts for serviceability and function. It requires an extensive visual inspection of components and systems together with operational or functional checks. To help boost its heavy maintenance at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, IAG-owned Vueling has committed to having all its maintenance work carried out in Iberia’s Barcelona hangar.

Iberia Barcelona hangar
Iberia’s Barcelona hangar is called the “big smile.” Photo: Iberia

Vueling is a low-cost Spanish airline with hubs at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport and Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO). By fleet size and the number of destinations, it is the largest Spanish airline. According to the aviation data and statistics website, ch-aviation Vueling’s fleet is made up of the following aircraft:

  • 6 x Airbus A319s
  • 76 x Airbus A320-200s
  • 25 x Airbus A32200neos
  • 18 x Airbus A321-200s

By developing its Airbus narrowbody maintenance facility at Barcelona Airport, Iberia will service IAG owned airlines narrowbody Airbus aircraft. The Spanish carrier also intends to promote the facility to other airliners in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Four narrowbody planes

Iberia first built its Barcelona maintenance facility in 2010 adjacent to runway 20 at BCN. The hangar has a surface area of 13,200 square meters (142,083.62 square feet) on a plot of 24,000 square meters (258,333.85 square feet).

Known as the “big smile” because of its 40 meters high (131.23 feet) 200 meter long (656.16 feet) glazed shape, the facility has enough room to accommodate four narrowbody aircraft.

vueling to receive state-guaranteed funding
Vueling will have its aircraft serviced in Iberia’s hangar. Photo: Getty Images

Rather than further develop its main operating base at Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport, it is nice to see Iberia committing resources to Barcelona. You can be almost certain that it is being done on the back of a commitment from Vueling to have its 125 Airbus aircraft serviced at the facility.

What do you think about Iberia’s Barcelona expansion? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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Delta passengers and crew subdue an off-duty flight attendant on LAX-ATL flight



Delta Air Lines flight DL1730 from Los Angeles to Atlanta was forced to divert to Oklahoma City after an off-duty flight attendant disrupted the flight:

From CNN:

Crew members and passengers of Delta Flight 1730 subdued the man after he assaulted two flight attendants and, according to Oklahoma City police, said he was “going to take the plane down.” A passenger said other travelers described the man as strange and that he wore a helmet along with elbow and knee pads.”
Read the full story:

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Delta Air Lines Flight Diverts To Oklahoma Over Unruly Off-Duty Flight Attendant



Two days ago, on June 11th, a Delta Air Lines flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta had to make an unscheduled stop in Oklahoma City. The reason for the diversion was reportedly an off-duty flight attendant whose behavior had become abusive and violent. Passengers and crew were eventually able to restrain the offender, who was taken into custody.

Delta Airbus A321 Getty
The incident delayed the flight by four hours. Photo: Getty Images

The flight in question

Delta Air Lines flight DL1730 is a scheduled service that departs Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) four times a week. The flight, which operates on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays (according to data from, has had a scheduled departure time of 17:45 since June 4th. Its destination is Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

The service has a scheduled duration of four hours and 21 minutes. This gives a scheduled arrival time into Atlanta of 01:06 local time the following morning. Los Angeles-Atlanta is an important route for Delta, with its booking website showing 10 direct departures today. Other carriers on the route include American, Frontier, Southwest, and Spirit.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Delta Airbus A321
The offender made serious threats concerning the safety of the plane. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Flickr

What happened?

However, the aircraft that operated flight DL1730 on Friday, June 11th was the subject of a diversion, resulting in a considerable delay. Having left LAX 18 minutes late at 18:03 local time, CNN reports that an unruly off-duty flight attendant caused a scuffle in the sky.

The offender’s abusive behavior included physically assaulting two members of cabin crew. A Delta spokesperson told CNN that he also commandeered the intercom and threatened to “take the plane down.” With the help of some passengers, the crew eventually restrained the man, who was said to be wearing elbow and knee pads and a helmet, as if he was expecting such a fracas. Passengers were reportedly also told to prepare to put on oxygen masks.

DL1730 Flightpath 11June2021
The aircraft spent almost three hours on the ground in Oklahoma City. Image:

Although the passenger had been subdued, his aforementioned serious threats about the flight’s fate prompted it to divert to Oklahoma City Will Rogers World Airport (OKC). The flight landed there at 23:28 local time, where the offender was taken into custody. This also involved a trip to hospital to treat some minor injuries sustained in the scuffle.

The plane, an Airbus A321 that Delta received two months ago (according to data from, spent nearly three hours on the ground in Oklahoma City. Passengers had to disembark to allow bomb technicians to sweep the aircraft. It eventually departed again at 02:11, arriving in Atlanta with a delay of just under four hours at 05:01.

Several Delta flights this month have diverted due to unruly passengers. One offender even attempted to breach the aircraft’s cockpit. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Similar incidents earlier in the month

June has been difficult for Delta in terms of these kinds of incidents. Indeed, CNN lists a couple more since the month began. The first of these saw passengers and crew subdue a man who had attempted to enter the cockpit of a flight from Los Angeles to Nashville. This caused the flight to have to divert to Albuquerque, with the FBI being called.

More recently, a Delta flight between Los Angeles and New York diverted to Detroit due to a disruptive passenger earlier this week. Although the offender was cited for disorderly conduct, a Wayne County Airport Authority spokesperson stated that it seemed they “did not have any criminal intent.” They added that a “medical issue” may have caused the disruption.

What do you make of this incident? Have you ever witnessed anything similar? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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