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Costa Rican start-up Ticos Air to launch in December

Costa Rican start-up carrier Ticos Air has started the process of obtaining an air operator's certificate from the country's civil aviation authority DGAC, specifying that it will operate Airbus A319 equipment on international routes.

The company currently has local businessman Gino Renzi as its sole shareholder, and a DGAC source confirms that "the documents to start Ticos Air's certification process have been submitted". The process "must be concluded by the DGAC within 110 days, unless discrepancies are detected", adds the source.

In an event announcing the airline, Renzi said earlier this week that the carrier plans to operate with an initial fleet of five leased A319s flights to Mexico City, Caracas, Miami, Newark and Los Angeles, among other destinations.

Another source familiar with the project reveals that the launch route will be to Mexico City and that the aircraft will be maintained by local provider Coopesa, although he could not identify the owner or lessor of the aircraft.

The final decision to launch the airline was taken after Avianca decided earlier this year to dismantle its San Jose hub, inherited from former Costa Rican flag carrier Lacsa through its merger with Lacsa owner Taca. The closure of the hub was heavily criticised in the country, which depends heavily on tourism and air connectivity.

Ticos, which is hiring some of the 261 local employees dismissed by Avianca after its route restructuring in May, plans to reap the benefits of Avianca's withdrawal from major international markets. Avianca slashed routes to New York, Los Angeles, Havana, Quito and Guayaquil, most of which are now part of Ticos' business plan.

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