Southwest seeks to add flights to Costa Rica


DALLAS (AP) – Southwest said Friday that it has asked the U.S. government for permission to fly between Baltimore and San Jose, Costa Rica, as the fourth-biggest U.S. carrier continues to expand its international ambitions.

Southwest Airlines Co. picked up some international routes with its 2011 acquisition of AirTran Airways, which it is shutting down and repainting the planes in Southwest colors. If the Department of Transportation approves the request, Costa Rica would become the first Southwest international destination after AirTran goes away.

The daily round-trip flights between Baltimore-Washington airport and Juan Santamaria International Airport would begin March 7 and mark Southwest’s first foray into Central America. Southwest operates about 200 departures a day from BWI, its third-biggest airport after Chicago Midway and Las Vegas.

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Southwest carries the most passengers on U.S. flights, but it offers far less international service than American, United and Delta.

Shares of Southwest rose 18 cents to $33.82 in morning trading. They began the day up 79 percent in 2014.