San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Taca reduces corporate prices by 35 percent

The Central American airline Taca announced Wednesday that it will be reducing its corporate fares in light of current economic turbulence.

Responding to an increase in the number of open seats, the airline decided to reduce prices, according to a statement to the press. From January to April 2009, the airline had 13 percent fewer passengers overall, with 18 percent fewer passengers flying for business-related trips.

Business people boarding Taca in Costa Rica will now be able to receive discounts of up to 35 percent under the new rates, with increased discounts for major routes within Central America.

In addition to the reduced fees, Taca has also restructured its first class section. Under a new design, passengers can now expect even more leg room than a first class seat normally allows, and larger pillows too. Heated leather seats will be newly available to economy-class flyers, the statement said.

NatureAir, a Costa Rican company that flies routes primarily within Costa Rica, has experienced similar increases in open seats – close to 15 percent – since the beginning of the year, said Alexi Khajavi, the commercial director of NatureAir.

As tourist numbers drop, so does the number of travelers willing to splurge for a flight to the coast or into the mountains. NatureAir has started a campaign to work with car rental companies, offering tandem deals to try and attract tourists to invest in both industries.

The move by Taca also points to an increase in corporate frugality, as companies seem to be cutting back on expenses and authorizing fewer trips.

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