Copa Airlines Colombia
|Founded||23 November 1992 (as AeroRepública)|
|Commenced operations||6 October 2010|
|Alliance||Star Alliance (affiliate)|
|Company slogan||Connected, everything is possible|
|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 hub is El Dorado International Airport, Bogotá, and José María Córdova International Airport in Medellín is a focus-city airport.
In 1992, during the economic liberalization policy of Colombian President César Gaviria, under the leadership of Alfonso Velandia and Amos Ginor, negotiations began to create AeroRepública, the first private airline to be created in Colombia in years. The airline started operations on 19 June 1993, with Boeing 727-100 aircraft painted with the yellow, blue and red colors of the flag of Colombia, initially flying to Colombian coastal cities, such as Santa Marta, Cartagena, and San Andrés from Bogotá.
In the first months of operations, AeroRepública added new domestic destinations such as Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla, Montería, and Leticia. It also launched international services to Aruba and Cuba. Meanwhile, the old 727-100s were replaced by second-hand McDonnell-Douglas DC-9-30 aircraft purchased from Continental Airlines and Alitalia.
Operational Mishaps and Restructuring (1993 – 2005)
During the first years of operations, AeroRepública’s reputation became tarnished due to constant mechanical problems with its ageing fleet, low punctuality, and mismanagement. Consequently, the airline was nicknamed “AeroRecocha” (“Air Rage”). Furthermore, the airline was grounded by Colombia´s Aerocivil for two weeks in May 1997 due to safety reasons. The airline’s board of directors reversed the situation by restructuring its business processes, launching a new corporate image, acquiring a fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft, eliminating unprofitable routes, and adding the slogan "Live the Change" on advertisements.
Acquisition by Copa Airlines and Expansion (2005 - present)
In 2005, Panama’s flag carrier, Copa Airlines, wanted to enter the Colombian market. After negotiating for several companies, including entering the auction for bankrupt Avianca, Copa acquired 90% of AeroRepública. With this acquisition, AeroRepública was completely transformed. The former president of the airline's board, Alfonso Avila Velandia, resigned and was succeeded by Roberto Junguito. AeroRepública adopted a corporate image similar to Copa’s and Continental’s (Now United) and began the retirement of the MD-80 fleet, in favor of the more efficient Embraer 190 and Boeing 737-700 aircraft.
In early 2007, an AeroRepública Embraer E-190 took off from Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport, in Medellín, for a demonstration flight, although current regulations do not allow that type of aircraft to operate from/to that airport. In addition, domestic routes were consolidated and international services to Quito, Caracas, Panama City, Mexico, and elsewhere were launched, and service to Miami, São Paulo and other cities was planned.
In 2010, Copa Holdings changed the airline’s name from AeroRepública to Copa Airlines Colombia, thus unifying the brand.
On 20 October 2016, Copa Holdings announced the creation of Wingo, a new low-cost airline operating under Copa Airlines Colombia, which will serve domestic and international routes. The new airline started operations on 1 December 2016, with a fleet of 4 Boeing 737-700s, each with a 142-seat all-Economy configuration.
As of November 2016, the Copa Airlines Colombia fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|Embraer E-190||9||—||10||84||94||One painted in "ConnectMiles.com" special colors.|
ConnectMiles is Copa Airlines Colombia's frequent-flyer program, through a partnership with Copa Airlines. Customers accumulate miles from flight segments flown on Copa Airlines Colombia, Copa Airlines, and other Star Alliance member airlines. Benefits of Premier status include priority check-in, priority boarding, complimentary upgrades, and discounted airport lounge memberships (United Club/Copa Club). Due to the Continental-United merger, Copa Airlines Colombia phased out the OnePass frequent flyer program on 31 December 2011, and adopted the MileagePlus program on 3 March 2012.
Copa Airlines Colombia has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
Incidents and accidents
- On 8 January 2005, an AeroRepública McDonnell Douglas MD-83 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 aircraft was written off.
- On 17 July 2007, an Embraer ERJ-190 aircraft with the registration HK-4455, operating as AeroRepública Flight 7330, overshot the runway at Simón Bolívar International Airport in Santa Marta, Colombia, went down an embankment and came to rest with its nose in the ocean. There were no fatalities. Due to the extensive damage, the aircraft 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". Copa Airlines. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "Introduction". Copa Airlines. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- "Introduction". Copa Airlines. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- Flight International July 2005
- Accident description for Aero República Embraer ERJ 190-100IGW (ERJ-190AR) registration HK-4455 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 17 November 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Copa Airlines Colombia.|
- Copa Airlines Colombia official website (in Spanish) (in English)