Copa Airlines Colombia
|Founded||23 November 1992 (as AeroRepública)|
|Commenced operations||6 October 2010|
|Frequent-flyer program||MileagePlus (ending 30 June 2015)
ConnectMiles (starting 1 July 2015)
|Airport lounge||Copa Club (in partnership with United Airlines)|
|Alliance||Star Alliance (affiliate)|
|Company slogan||'Conectado, todo es posible' (Spanish) 'Connected, everything is possible' (English)|
|Parent company||Copa Holdings S.A.|
|Key people||Eduardo Lombana (CEO)|
|Website||Copa Airlines Colombia|
It operates scheduled passenger service from Bogotá to 19 domestic and international destinations, as well as charter services to the United States and the Caribbean. Its main base is El Dorado International Airport, Bogotá, with a hub at José María Córdova International Airport, Medellín.
Founding as AeroRepública
In the early 1990s, during the economic liberalization policy of Colombian President César Gaviria, under the leadership of Alfonso Avila Velandia and Amos Ginor, negotiations began, in 1992, to create AeroRepública, the first private airline to be created in Colombia in years. The initiative had the support of banks and business groups in Colombia and the United States.
AeroRepública started operations in June 1993, with Boeing 727-100 aircraft painted with the yellow, blue, and red colors of the flag of Colombia, initially flying from Bogotá to cities of the Colombian coast, such as Santa Marta, Cartagena, and San Andrés. Service to Santa Marta was especially successful, gaining honorable mention by the mayor of the city, and the government of Magdalena.
AeroRepública continued to expand domestically, reaching to new cities, such as Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla, Montería, and Leticia, among others. Just as in Santa Marta, in Leticia, AeroRepública's arrival resulted in a drop in airline prices that was very important at the time. Alongside all this, the airline changed its aging and obsolete fleet of 727-100 aircraft for second-hand McDonnell-Douglas DC-9-30 ex-charter aircraft from Continental Airlines and Alitalia.
Quality decline and updating (1993 - 2005)
During the first decade of operations, AeroRepública had a bad reputation in Colombia due to constant mechanical problems with its fleet, punctuality, and mismanagement by the board of directors. As a consequence, the airline received the infamous nickname of "AeroRecocha" ("Air Rage"), in reference to these problems.
As a result of the constant bad publicity, the board of AeroRepública initiated long-term strategies to revolutionize the carrier, in terms of business processes, fleet updating, and corporate image. These plans included the slogan "Live the Change" on advertisements. The airline began to acquire an extensive fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft, to change the livery, and to fly to new destinations.
These changes were well received by the public, and the nickname "AeroRecocha" was abandoned in the early 2000s, as a result. Today, AeroRepública has no mechanical or punctuality issues that could affect the public's confidence.
Acquisition by Copa Airlines (2005 - 2010)
The next decade was considered a great one for Colombian aviation, and Panama's flag carrier, Copa Airlines, was interested in entering the Colombian market. After negotiating for several companies, including entering the auction for bankrupt Avianca, Copa acquired 90% percent of AeroRepública.
With this acquisition, AeroRepública began a corporate, and image, makeover, and changes to the fleet. The first step came when the former president of the airline's board, Alfonso Avila Velandia, resigned and was succeeded by Roberto Junguito. AeroRepública adopted a livery and a corporate logo similar to Copa's, and Continental's (now United), and started the gradual retirement of its MD-80 fleet, ordering 15 modern Embraer E-190 aircraft, and acquiring 10 of the 18 older Boeing 737-700s from Copa's fleet.
In early 2007, an AeroRepública Embraer E-190 took off from Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport, in Medellin, for a demonstration flight, although current regulations don't allow that type of aircraft to operate from the airport.
In addition, there was consolidation of domestic routes and expansion of international service, to Quito, Caracas, Panama City, and other cities, with plans for future service to cities such as Miami and São Paulo. In August 2010, AeroRepública announced plans for service to Mexico and Cuba.
Copa Airlines Colombia fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of May 2015):
|Aircraft||In Service||Orders||Passengers per plane|
|Embraer E-190AR A||3||0||
|Embraer E-190AR B||11||0||
|Total for all aircraft||18||0||78||1866||1944|
MileagePlus is Copa Airlines Colombia's frequent-flyer program, through a partnership with United Airlines and Copa Airlines. Customers accumulate miles from flight segments flown with Copa Airlines Colombia, Copa Airlines, or other partners of the Star Alliance. The program's elite tiers are Silver, Gold, and Platinum Elite. All of them have benefits such as mileage bonus, and priority in terms of check-in, seat reservations, and boarding.
The airline terminated its OnePass program, shared with Continental Airlines, on 2 March 2012, as a result of the merger of Continental with United. On 3 March 2012, Copa Airlines Colombia began to use United's MileagePlus frequent flyer program.
Copa Airlines Colombia has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
(This list does include Star Alliance airlines)
1- The codeshare to Air Panama is an interline agreement.
Incidents and accidents
- On 8 January 2005, an AeroRepública McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft overran the runway at Cali's Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport, Colombia, and the landing gear was torn off. There were no fatalities among the 6 crew and 164 passengers. The plane was written-off.
- On 17 July 2007, AeroRepública flight 7330, an Embraer ERJ-190 aircraft, overshot the runway at Simón Bolívar International Airport in Santa Marta, went down an embankment, and ended up with the front end of the aircraft in the ocean. There were no fatalities. Due to the extensive damage, the plane was written-off.
- "Terms and Conditions." Copa Airlines. Retrieved on January 31, 2011.
- "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-03-27. p. 50.
- "Aero Republica to launch Mexico and Cuba services". Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "Aero Republica becomes Copa Airlines Colombia". 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- "Fleet". CopaAirlines. Copa Airlines, Incorporated. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
- Flight International July 2005
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Copa Airlines Colombia.|
- Copa Airlines Colombia official website (Spanish) (English)