Volaris El Salvador (N3, San Salvador International), which launched commercial flight operations on September 15 using a single A320-200N, now plans to initiate services to the United States on or around March 2022, according to its application for a Foreign Air Carrier Permit and exemption authority to the US Department of Transportation.

In the regulatory notice, dated October 4, the wholly-owned Volaris (Y4, México City International) subsidiary initially plans to connect San Salvador International to Washington Dulles, New York JFK, and Los Angeles International using A320-series aircraft in its fleet. These flights may be operated either direct or via intermediate points in Central America.

It seeks permission for scheduled and charter air transportation of persons, property, and mail, from points behind El Salvador via El Salvador and intermediate points to a point or points in the United States and beyond. Granting such permission is in the public interest, the application claimed, and is authorised under the US-El Salvador Open Skies Agreement, while “Volaris El Salvador will be the only ULCC Salvadoran air carrier providing expanded price and service options for travellers” between the two countries.

Volaris El Salvador currently operates from San Salvador to México City International (5x weekly), Cancún (2x weekly), and San Pedro Sula (1x weekly), the ch-aviation capacities module shows, and its A320neo transferred from parent Volaris will soon be joined by a second aircraft, an A320-200.

In March, Volaris CEO Enrique Beltranena said he was keen for Volaris El Salvador to exploit vacant traffic rights between the Central American state and the United States, Mexico, and South America. The strategy of the Mexican carrier is to launch bases in other Central American countries, and besides the Salvadoran unit it also has an active Costa Rican AOC, Volaris Costa Rica (Q6, San José Juan Santamaría), and is in the process of establishing Volaris Guatemala (VGU, Guatemala City).

Beltranena clarified to ch-aviation at the IATA AGM in Boston in early October: “Once we have the route rights from Costa Rica and El Salvador, we basically have everything we need to do Central America to the north and Central America to the south. We’re using a point-to-point approach and I believe that there are markets which are much more mature that need point-to-point traffic service, and also there are markets that are underdeveloped where if we attack them with low prices we can generate enough elasticity in the demand to make point-to-point work.”

Volaris Costa Rica, which operates a fleet of three A319-100s, resumed operations in November 2020 and currently operates ten routes. This AOC flies to Los Angeles via both San Salvador 3x weekly and Guatemala City 2x weekly, as well as via San Salvador to both Washington Dulles (2x weekly) and New York JFK (1x weekly).

Volaris’s most recent traffic results, released on October 5, showed that in September passenger demand in its domestic Mexican and international markets increased by 21% and 18.9%, respectively, year-on-year, prompting it to raise capacity 22.2% domestically and 21.7% internationally. It carried 2.1 million passengers during the month, 18% more than pre-pandemic levels.