|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2013)|
|Founded||June 21, 1944|
|Commenced operations||August 15, 1947|
|Airport lounge||Copa Club (in partnership with United)|
|Subsidiaries||Copa Airlines Colombia|
|Company slogan||Connected, everything is possible|
|Parent company||Copa Holdings, S.A.|
|Headquarters||Panama City, Panama|
|Key people||Pedro Heilbron (CEO)
Jose Montero (CFO)
|Revenue||US$2,249 million (FY 2012)|
|Operating income||US$402,5 million (FY 2012)|
|Net income||US$326.4 million (FY 2012)|
Compañía Panameña de Aviación, S.A., (NYSE: CPA), operating as Copa Airlines, is an airline based in Panama City, Panama, and serves as Panama's flag carrier. Their main base of operations is Tocumen International Airport, and in 2013 the airline carried 11.345 million passengers on more than 326 daily scheduled flights to 69 destinations in 30 countries in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Copa is a subsidiary of Copa Holdings, S.A. as well as a member of the Star Alliance. The airline is also the main operator and owner of Colombian airline AeroRepublica, currently known as Copa Airlines Colombia.
Copa Airlines was founded in 1947 as the national airline of Panama. They began operations with domestic flights to three cities in Panama using Douglas DC-3s. Copa Airlines then abandoned their domestic flights in favor of international flights. In 1998, Copa formed a strategic partnership with Continental Airlines, replacing their own livery and adopting the OnePass (replaced afterwards by MileagePlus) frequent flyer program. The airline operates a fleet of 92 aircraft, mostly Boeing 737 NGs used on most international flights and a smaller fleet of Embraer E-190 for regional flights.
As of 2013, the airline employs over 9,000 people, most of them residing in Panama and is one of the fastest growing companies in the country. It is headed by Chief Executive Officer Pedro Heilbron.
- 1 History
- 2 Awards and honors
- 3 Destinations
- 4 Fleet
- 5 Liveries
- 6 Services
- 7 MileagePlus
- 8 Copa Club
- 9 Codeshare agreements
- 10 Incidents and accidents
- 11 Popular culture
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The airline was established as Compañía Panameña de Aviación (hence the acronym COPA) on 21 June 1944 and started operations on 15 August 1947. It was founded by a group of prominent Panamanian investors with assistance from Pan American World Airways, who took a 32% stake. They began operations with domestic flights operated by a small fleet of Copa Airships B1 and Copa Airships B2 aircraft. The airline started their first international flights in the 1970s with service to cities in Jamaica, Colombia, and Costa Rica.
Until the early 1980s, the airline had significant competition from Air Panamá Internacional, better known to the flying public. Copa discontinued domestic flights in 1979 and acquired their first jet, a Boeing 737-100. Today, the airline operates flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as to the Dominican Republic and Miami, Florida. The Boeing 737 was the only aircraft in the carrier's fleet until the introduction of the Embraer 190 in 2005.
Expansion continued during the 1990s, when service was started to Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Bogotá, Colombia; Havana, Cuba; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Lima, Peru; Mexico City, Mexico; Caracas, Venezuela; and many other important Latin American cities.
In 1992, Copa signed a strategic alliance with El Salvador-based TACA Airlines, and Copa began flying from Tocumen International Airport, making it the first flight connection center in Latin America. As a consequence, Tocumen airport became the "Hub of the Americas" and the integration of several Latin American airlines to the alliance, such as LACSA of Costa Rica, Aviateca of Guatemala, and NICA of Nicaragua. The alliance ended in 1998 after the six-year agreement expired.
In 1998, Continental Airlines acquired 49% of the airline, marking the beginning of a comprehensive marketing and operating alliance. On 19 May 1999, Continental increased their stake to 51 percent. Since then, Copa has adopted a livery and a corporate logo similar to Continental's (now United's). Copa participated in the OnePass frequent flyer program until Continental's merger with United. In connection with the initial public offering in December 2005, Continental reduced their investment to approximately 27.3% and through a follow-on offering in 2006, further reduced it to approximately 10% .
In 2000, Copa Airlines inaugurated service to Los Angeles, Cancún, and Orlando, as well as to São Paulo; in 2001, they began service to Quito, Ecuador. In 2004, service to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City began. Copa also announced in August of that year a code sharing alliance with Mexico's Mexicana de Aviación, which lasted until 2007.
On 1 June 2005, Copa Airlines purchased 90 percent of the Colombian domestic air carrier AeroRepública, having earlier announced plans to codeshare with them. Copa rebranded AeroRepública to Copa Airlines Colombia and increased destinations and modernized the fleet.
On 15 December 2005, Copa Holdings, S.A., the parent company of Copa Airlines, launched an IPO of 14 million shares in the New York Stock Exchange thus becoming the fourth Latin American airline to be traded in the exchange, the other three being LAN Airlines of Chile and Brazilian carriers Gol Transportes Aéreos and TAM Airlines (TAM Linhas Aéreas).
In 2006, Copa Airlines began service to six new destinations: Manaus, Brazil; Maracaibo, Venezuela; Montevideo, Uruguay; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; and Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.
During 2008, Copa Airlines added five new destinations and received four Embraer 190s and one Boeing 737-800. The new destinations are Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Valencia, Venezuela; Oranjestad, Aruba; and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
That same year, Copa Airlines chief executive Pedro Heilbron on the ALTA airline leaders forum in Cancún said that Copa Airlines had decided to leave SkyTeam and were in exclusive talks with Star Alliance.
In 2009, Copa Airlines announced their withdrawal from SkyTeam on 24 October, the same date that partner Continental Airlines left SkyTeam. They added two Boeing 737-800s. and announced a firm order for 13 Boeing 737-800s that will come with the new Boeing signature "Sky Interior".
In 2010, Copa Airlines began service to St. Maarten, received nine Boeing 737-800s and announced that they would finally join Star Alliance in mid-2012 to rejoin old partner Continental (now United) Airlines and become the first Panamanian airline to join Star Alliance.
Also, Copa Airlines and Boeing announced the purchase of 32 Boeing 737-800 planes, set for delivery between 2015 and 2018, with an option to acquire ten more Boeing 737-800, valued approximately at $1.7 billion. This is the largest plane order in Copa Airlines' history.
In 2011, Copa Airlines started flying to Toronto, Canada; Brasilia, Brazil; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Chicago, United States; Cúcuta, Colombia; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Monterrey, Mexico; Asunción, Paraguay; and Nassau, The Bahamas. It also passed from a four bank hub to a six bank hub and increased frequencies to several destinations.
They also launched their first mobile website (m.copaair.com), giving their passengers the ability to get the Mobile Pass, check flight status and other characteristics. Additionally, Copa announced a new codeshare agreement with TAME, which became effective in January 2012.
Copa Airlines became the first airline in Latin America to have the new Boeing 737-800 NG Sky Interior with improved performance in their fleet.
In 2012, five new destinations were announced: Las Vegas, United States; Recife, Brazil; Willemstad, Curaçao; Liberia, Costa Rica; and Iquitos, Peru. Copa is also expected to increase frequency to several destinations. The company made an interline agreement with Air Panama (Panama's second-largest airline) which consists of the linkage of all tourist destinations in Panama with those in Latin America. The agreement became effective in June 1, 2012, when Air Panama began flights from Tocumen airport to Isla Colón, Bocas del Toro.
On October 10, 2013, Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) announced that Copa Airlines placed an order to retrofit some of its existing Boeing Next Generation 737's Blended Winglets with APB's new Split Scimitar Winglet, as part of its environmental strategy. The new APB winglet technology will save Copa more than $21 million in jet fuel costs fleet wide and more than 63,000 tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) output per year.
On 2014, Copa Airlines announced three new destinations and revealed its business strategy for the year, which includes the delivery of 8 brand-new Boeing 737-800 aircraft and the increase of frecuencies in some destinations. The new destinations are Montreal, Canada; Fort Lauderdale, United States; and Georgetown, Guyana. These are expected to start in mid-2014.
On April 2014, Copa Airlines became the first airline in Latin America and the third in the world to implement the Split Scimitar Winglets in their Boeing 737 NG fleet.
Awards and honors
- November 2002: Best Regionalization in Latin America Award, PODER Magazine, Booz, Allen & Hamilton and Egon Zehnder International.
- December 2002: "Tourism without Borders" Award, Federation of Tourism Chambers of Central America.
- April 2003: "Developing Airline of the Year" Award, AirFinance Journal.
- April 2004: "Best Airline" in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean Award, based on the annual World Airline Survey conducted by Skytrax, a British market-survey company.
- June 2004: Among the 25 Best Employers in Latin America, América Economía magazine.
- June 2005: "Best Airline" and "Best On-board Service" in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean Awards, Skytrax.
- June 2006: "Best Airline" and "Best Cabin Staff" in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean Awards, Skytrax.
- October 2006: One of the 10 Best Employers in Latin America, América Economía magazine.
- August 2009: The Life Achievement Awards, Airline Business magazine.
- 2010: Mexico & Central America's Leading Airline, World Travel Awards.
- 2010: World's Most Sustainable Airline Environmental Award, GREENHORIZON Aviation
- June 2011: fourth place in Leading Companies of 2011, Summa Magazine.
- November 2011: Mexico's and Central America Leading Airline, World Travel Awards.
- July 2012: Regional leadership Airlne, Airline Business magazine.
- July 2013: "Best Airline" and "Best Cabin Staff" in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean Awards, Skytrax.
Copa Airlines currently flies to 69 destinations in 30 countries in North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.
Copa Airlines operates a total of 95 aircraft, with an average fleet age of 4.3 years. The Boeing customer code for Copa Airlines is V3, yielding model numbers such as 737-8V3, representing in this example a Boeing 737-800 aircraft manufactured for Copa Airlines.
||Older aircraft to be replaced with Boeing 737-800s.|
|Deliveries through 2018.
55 aircraft to get Split Scimitar winglets by 2018. Replacing older Boeing 737-700s.
- Copa Airlines was the launch customer of the Embraer E-190 in Latin America. The airline also operates the longest scheduled Boeing 737-700 flight in the world between Panama City and Montevideo in Uruguay.
- The average age of Copa Airlines aircraft is approximately 4.3 years.
- In October 2004, Copa Airlines announced an order to purchase 10 Embraer E-190 aircraft with options for a further 20 new aircraft. Later the firm orders were increased by exercising 5 of the options. 6 aircraft were delivered in the first quarter of 2007. In June 2007 the airline took delivery of its seventh Embraer E-190 aircraft and is due to receive 4 more during 2007. The aircraft are configured with 10 seats in Clase Ejecutiva (Business Class) and 84 seats in economy.
- At 31 May 2007, the airline has firm commitments to purchase 4 Boeing 737-Next Generation(series -800) and 10 Embraer E-190, with a list price of approximately $1.1 billion.
- On 30 December 2008, Copa Airlines has announced the firm order for 4 more Boeing 737-800.
- On 16 July 2009, the Panamanian carrier Copa Airlines announced the firm order for 13 Boeing 737-800 that will come with the new Boeing's signature "Sky Interior".
- On 30 November 2010, Copa Airlines and Boeing announced the purchase of 22 Boeing 737-800 planes, set for delivery between 2015 and 2018, with an option to acquire 10 more Boeing 737-800, valued approximately at $1.7 billion. This is the largest plane order in Copa Airlines history.
- On 4 April 2013, Copa Airlines received the first Next-Generation 737 of the world at higher production rate, which is a Boeing 737-800 (registration HP-1831CMP).
- As of 2012, the airline has taken into consideration the acquisition the re-engineered Boeing 737 MAX family, but has not given an official statement because they are under study process.
- On 8 April 2014, the carrier received their first Boeing 737-800 (registered HP-1836CMP) with Split Scimitar winglets and expects to retrofit all the Boeing 737s with the new winglets.
Since its founding in 1947, Copa Airlines had several liveries during the update of its fleet from turboprops to jetliners. Also, it has special liveries within its fleet. On November 2003, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the republic of Panama, Copa Airlines put on its fleet of Boeing 737-700 an announcement of the centennial with the official logo with the picture of the first president of Panama, Manuel Amador Guerrero, in a white livery.
On February 3, 2011, the Tourism Authority of Panama worked alongside Copa Airlines to make a special livery for a Boeing 737-800 (registered HP-1534CMP) with a butterfly logo of Panama and the website "visitpanama.com". This was part of an effort to promote tourism in Panama. As of 2013, the plane no longer has the logo on the left forward side.
On March 6, 2012, a brand-new Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 (registered HP-1728CMP) was painted with the former Star Alliance livery. Also, it introduced an new and redesigned font style in the Copa Airlines's logo. This plane in particular was inactive from that month until June 21, when it was exhibited in the celebration of the company's official integration to the Star Alliance. After the celebration, the aircraft was put officially in service. Six days later, that plane made the first scheduled non-stop passenger flight from Panama to Las Vegas.
On May 30, 2012, another brand-new Boeing 737-800 for the company (registered HP-1823CMP) was painted with the former Star Alliance livery.
On March 2013, a newly built Boeing 737-800 for Copa Airlines (registered HP-1830CMP) was painted with the former Star Alliance livery scheme. After this delivery, Copa Airlines has on its fleet 3 planes painted with the former Star Alliance livery, as of April 2013.
From 1947 to present, Copa Airlines has used the following liveries:
- Compañia Panameña de Aviación - (1947–1961)
- Vuele Copa - (1961–1965)
- Copa Panama (original) - White fuselage with a red or green cheatline (1965–1971)
- Copa Panama (1st upgrade) - Red and orange cheatline with white fuselage (1971–1980)
- Copa Panama (2nd upgrade) - Red and yellow cheatline with white fuselage (1980–1990)
- Copa "Billboard Style" - Red and yellow cheatline with white fuselage, and "Copa" logo in the front part of the widebody and tail. (1990–1999)
- Copa Airlines - white and gray fuselage, with gold cheatline in the middle, and the well-known globe logo. (1999–present)
The last livery on the list has been used by Copa Airlines since 1999, after Continental raised its ownership of the company by 51% in that year. Although Continental ceased operations on March 2012 as a result of its merger with United Airlines, Copa and United still use the same livery and the "globe" logo design, but the font style titles of both airlines had a rebranding.
When flying in Business Class, customers obtain the following benefits: special check-in at airport counters, leather seats, meals, a large variety of liquors and wines, pillows, and blankets (depending on the type and duration of the flight). It provides 3 Panamanian newspapers departing from Panama, bonus miles for all members of the MileagePlus program, access to all United Club/Copa Club.
Also, private bathroom for business class passengers, and in long-haul flights, a courtesy kit containing toiletry items, hot towels, and bottled water will be provided to all Business Class passengers. In the Boeing 737 fleet, it includes first class recliners with footrests, major space between each line of Business Class, and personal in-flight entertainment screens.
In this class, passengers have some of the benefits as in Business class, such as inflight entertainment in the Boeing 737 fleet (movies, TV sitcoms, and access to music radio stations), hot meals, a wide variety of drink options that can be selected during meals, and complementary drink services.
In the Boeing 737 fleet, the airline has an inflight entertainment system. Copa Airlines selects an appropriate movie for all flights to or from Panama, and reproduces some TV series (series showing only applies in flights that take at least 5.5 hours). Moreover, the Boeing fleet is equipped with a radio antenna, which allows passengers to choose from 12 selected music radio stations and to listen to a wide variety of songs and instrumentals. The airline also provides an inflight magazine (Panorama de las Americas) in which one may find articles related to the airline's destinations, world economy, leadership and entrepreneurship, science and technology, and many other topics.
MileagePlus is Copa Airlines' frequent flyer program through a partnership with United Airlines, offering frequent travelers the ability to purchase tickets with miles. Customers accrue miles from flight segments flown on Copa Airlines, United Airlines, and other partners. MileagePlus offers additional benefits to its Premier members; status tiers are marketed as Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, and Premier 1K.
Benefits of Premier status include priority check-in, priority boarding, complimentary upgrades, and discounted airport lounge memberships (United Club/Copa Club). Due to the merger of United and Continental, Copa Airlines phased out its previous frequent flyer program, OnePass, on December 31, 2011, and began using United's new MileagePlus program on March 3, 2012.
Copa Airlines also offers frequent flyer partnerships with the following car rental companies:
Copa Club is the membership airport lounge program of Copa Airlines jointly operated with United Airlines. Copa Club lounge is located in its hub at Tocumen International Airport, Panama City, Panama. The lounges offer amenities for travelers and members also have access to affiliated lounges around the world. The Copa Club locations in Central America and the Caribbean includes:
Copa Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
(This list does not include Star Alliance airlines)
- Cubana de Aviación
- Gol Transportes Aéreos
- Air Panama (interline agreement only)
- Linea Aerea Amaszonas (interline agreement only)
Incidents and accidents
During its 65-year history, Copa Airlines had the following incidents and accidents:
|201||June 6, 1992||Boeing 737-200||near Tucutí, Darien||Flight 201, a leased Boeing 737-200 Advanced registered as HP-1205CMP, flipped and crashed in the Darien Gap during a flight from Panama City to Cali after an instrument failure. All 40 passengers and the 7 crew members lost their lives. This is the first and only fatal accident in the history of Copa Airlines (as of January 11, 2014).||47||0||0||0||0|
|301||November 19, 1993||Boeing 737-100||Tocumen International Airport||The plane (registered HP-873CMP) was damaged beyond repair, when it veered off the runway upon landing at Tocumen International Airport at 19:19 local time following a flight from Miami, Florida, with 86 passengers and six crew members. The pilots had not managed to properly align the aircraft with the runway because of severe crosswinds, which led to the nosegear being torn off. There were no reported injuries and the plane was written-off.||0||0||0||92||0|
Since its foundation in 1947, Copa Airlines has suffered one hijacking attempt:
- On 7 August 1994, a hijacking attempt occurred on board a Copa flight from Panama City to Guatemala City. Then it was reported as misunderstanding by Panamanian authorities
In the movie The Tailor of Panama, a Copa Airlines 737-700 is shown.
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- "Copa Airlines history and how we became the leader in the Latinamerican aviation industry". Copaair.com. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
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- "Nuevo destino: Chicago, Estados Unidos". Copaair.com. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
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- "Conectarán Isla Colón con Latinoamérica | Economía-Impreso". Prensa.com. 2012-01-19. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "Copa Airlines to start Tampa-Panama service in December | Breaking Tampa Bay, Florida and national news and weather from Tampa Bay Online and The Tampa Tribune". TBO.com. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
- "All Things Travel: Copa Airlines Begins Logan Service « CBS Boston". Boston.cbslocal.com. 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
- http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/copa-airlines-orders-split-scimitar-winglets-227038091.html. Missing or empty
- "Copa Airlines Awards/Honours". Copa Airlines - Our History. Archived from the original on 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
- "World Airlines Awards 2005". Archived from the original on 2007-05-29. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
- "World Airlines Awards 2006". Archived from the original on 2007-07-04. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
- "Copa Airlines Again Named to List of 'Best Employers in Latin America'". RedOrbit. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
- "Copa Airlines distinguida con los Skytrax World Airline Awards 2013". LaNoticia1.com. 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
- "Fly to North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean – Hub of the Americas". Copaair.com. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "Copa Airlines Takes Delivery of Its Seventh Embraer 190". Copa Airlines (UK website). 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
- "Copa Airlines takes delivery of its # 12 Embraer 190". 2008-04-14.
- "Copa Airlines takes delivery of its # 13 Embraer 190". 2008-05-19.
- "Copa Airlines takes delivery of its # 14 Embraer 190". 2008-10-13.
- "Copa Airlines takes delivery of its # 15 Embraer 190". 2008-11-17.
- "Copa Airlines takes delivery of its # 7 Boeing 737-800". 2008-06-06.
- "Copa Airlines firm order for four Boeing 737-800". 2008-12-30.
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- "Boeing Rolls Out First Next-Generation 737 at Higher Production Rate - Mar 18, 2013". Boeing.mediaroom.com. 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
- "United Hub - United Airlines News, Products, MileagePlus®, Mobile, Web and More". Onepassmergerupdates.com. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "Star Alliance". Copaair.com. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
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- 1994 hijacking attempt at the Aviation Safety Network
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