Flying to Nicaragua is still as arduous as it was earlier in the pandemic. Here’s a look at the current Nicaragua flight situation, where excessive regime demands mean only two airlines have returned to Managua.
Even though Copa has added more flights between Managua and Panama City, at least four airlines continue delaying their return to Nicaragua.
American Airlines, United, and Aeromexico all confirmed they won’t resume services to Nicaragua in February.
Spirit is also delaying its return. It haven’t even confirmed a tentative restart date. This is a blow to many passengers looking to travel between Nicaragua and the United States.
Mientras Copa Airlines decidió ampliar el número de vuelos en febrero, al menos tres aerolíneas de Estados Unidos continúan resistiéndose a retornar a Nicaragua. Aquí te contamos👇 https://t.co/huXOmo4IGA
— LA PRENSA Nicaragua (@laprensa) February 2, 2021
Spirit’s regular pre-COVID route between Managua and Fort Lauderdale was always popular. It’s an affordable airline, after all, and many Nicaraguans also live in Florida.
American Airlines now gives March 4 as its return date. This is a change from the previously scheduled February 11 restart. Pre-pandemic, American offered three daily flights between Managua and Miami.
United also had a February 11 return date scheduled. It now says it’ll return in March, but hasn’t given a date. They had a daily route between Managua and Houston.
For its part, Aeroméxico has also labeled March 4 as a date to restart Nicaragua operations. Their route ran twice a day between Managua and Mexico City.
All these airlines have been changing their return dates since June 2020. They’ve said all along that each new date is “tentative”.
The only airline other than Copa who’ve been operating is Avianca, since September 2020. They fly between Managua and San Salvador, from where travelers can transit to their final destinations.
Copa Airlines began operations between Managua and Panama City in January 2021.
First reports said Copa would offer a flight every Thursday, but they seem to have increased their schedule somewhat. Right now, Copa’s schedule for this month shows flights for February 4, 11, 18, 19, 25, and 26.
Why are airlines not flying to Nicaragua? Aeromexico and American Airlines both pushed back their Nicaragua restarts last week. Only Avianca operates. What’s happening?#nicaragua #sosnicaraguahttps://t.co/uAJRpBEnLW
— CentralAmericaLiving (@VidaAmerica) October 26, 2020
All these postponements and cancelations are a result of the Ortega regime’s demands.
The regime demands airlines send them a passenger list with negative COVID test results in advance of arrival in Nicaragua. They also demand negative test results from the airline crews.
Nicaragua is the only country in the region doing this, and airlines find it impossible to comply. Crews are constantly moving, constantly in transit, and oftentimes they don’t have the time to wait around for the test results Nicaragua demands.
Speaking of tests, it’s also become expensive for many Nicaraguans to travel, given the United States and other countries now demands a negative COVID test to enter. There’s only one place available to get tested in Nicaragua, and that costs $150.
So the airlines keep delaying and the tourist sector remains in limbo; hurting and unable to organize or make any plans.
In the meantime, the best way to enter Nicaragua continues to be through Costa Rica, arriving into Liberia Airport and crossing the border from there.
With few airlines flying in, traveling to Nicaragua has never been more confusing. In this article, we try to dispel any confusion with an account of a recent journey from Arizona to Nicaragua.#nicaragua #travel https://t.co/1QJCEmF9nt
— CentralAmericaLiving (@VidaAmerica) January 9, 2021
James Dyde is the editor of centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.