A Southwest flight prepares to land at DCA - about 40 minutes from BWI - this week. Photo by Barb DeLollis.

A Southwest flight prepares to land at DCA, which is about 40 minutes from BWI. Photo by Barb DeLollis.

Southwest Airlines filed papers with the federal government to launch daily service between Baltimore (BWI) and San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) today.

It will be Southwest’s first destination in Central America. Southwest plans to launch service on March 7, 2015, the company’s statement says.

The new service is also a coup for BWI, which is one of three airports in the Washington D.C.-metro area along with IAD and DCA.

“Here at BWI we continue working to expand international air service,” BWI spokesman Jonathan Dean told Travel Update.

Southwest launched its first-ever scheduled international service in July to three markets, and now serves four from BWI: Aurba, Monego Bay, Nassau and Cancun.

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On Nov. 2, Southwest will launch service to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, a popular beach destination that’s home to resorts such a Hard Rock and an Iberostar. Southwest has been converting existing AirTran service in those destinations.

International passenger traffic has been growing steadily in recent years at BWI, which getting ready to expand its international terminal space, Dean said.

“Our substantial presence in Baltimore/Washington is a natural place to do that by bringing nonstop access to new, international markets,” Gary Kelly, Southwest’s CEO, said this morning before a meeting of the Greater Washington Board of Trade in Washington, D.C

Tickets to SJO will be go on sale once Southwest secures approvals from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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