Copa Airlines: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Copa Airlines
Founded 1947
Focus cities
Frequent flyer program OnePass
Member lounge Presidents Club
Fleet size 43
Destinations 45
Company slogan The most direct way to connect with the Americas
Parent company Copa Holdings, S.A.
Headquarters Panama City, Panama
Key people Pedro Heilbron (CEO)
Victor Vial (CFO)

Copa Airlines is the national airline and flag carrier of Panama based in Panama City. Its main base of operations is Tocumen International Airport, from where it operates approximately 148 daily scheduled flights to 45 destinations in 24 countries in North America, Central America, South America and The Caribbean.[1]





The airline was established as Compañía Panameña de Aviación (hence the acronym COPA) on June 21, 1944 and started operations on August 15, 1947. It was founded by a group of prominent Panamanian investors with assistance from Pan American, which took a 32% stake. It began operations with domestic flights operated by a small fleet of Douglas DC-3 and Douglas C-47 aircraft. The airline started its first international flights in the 1960s when services were inaugurated to cities in Jamaica, Colombia, and Costa Rica. It became wholly Panamanian owned in 1971.

Until the early 1980s, the airline had significant competition from Air Panama, until then, a better known airline to the international public. In order to compete with Air Panama, Copa discontinued its domestic flights in 1979 and acquired its first jet, a Boeing 737-100. It also inaugurated flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as to the Dominican Republic and Miami, Florida. Thus, the Boeing 737 became the only aircraft in its fleet until the introduction of the Embraer 190 in 2005.

Expansion Years

Copa Airlines 737-700WL in a jetway at Tocumen International Airport, Panama City, Panama.

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 1998, Continental Airlines acquired 49% of the airline, marking the beginning of a comprehensive marketing and operating alliance. On 19 May 1999 Continental increased its stake to 51%. Since then, it has adopted a livery and a corporate logo which are similar to those of Continental in order to represent their alliance, and participates in the OnePass frequent flyer program. However, in connection with the initial public offering in December 2005, Continental reduced its investment from 49% to approximately 27.3% and through a follow-on offering in 2006, Continental further reduced its investment to approximately 10.0%.[2]

In 2000, Copa Airlines inaugurated services to Los Angeles, Cancún, and Orlando, as well as to São Paulo; in 2001 it began serving Quito, Ecuador. In 2004 it began service to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. It also announced in August of that year a code-sharing alliance with Mexico's Mexicana de Aviación, which lasted until 2007.

The Acquisition of AeroRepública

On June 1, 2005, Copa announced that it had purchased 90% of the Colombian domestic air carrier AeroRepública, having earlier announced plans to codeshare with them. The airline also announced its plans to make AeroRepública the second largest carrier in Colombia. It plans to increase domestic destinations, modernize its fleet, and initiate the airline's first international destinations. A few days later, Copa Airlines was announced among the four future associate members of SkyTeam alliance, due to join by September 2007[3].

On December 15, 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 Brazilian Airlines (TAM Linhas Aéreas).


Copa Airlines Embraer 190 at Manaus, Brazil.

In 2006 Copa Airlines announced and began service to six new destinations.

In addition, Copa Airlines also received 6 Embraer 190 and 2 Boeing 737 in 2006 and was chosen again as the "Best Airline in Mexico, Central America, and The Caribbean" by Skytrax.


2007 Copa Airlines added new destinations and expanded its fleet with new airplanes.

Copa Airlines received 4 Embraer 190 and 2 Boeing 737 (series-800) in 2007 and was chosen as the "Best Airline in Mexico, Central America, and The Caribbean" by Skytrax.


During this year, Copa added five new destinations and received 4 Embraer 190 and 1 Boeing 737-800. The new destinations are:

Copa was chosen as the "Best Airline in Central America, and The Caribbean" by Skytrax.

In May 2008, Continental Airlines sold its remaining 4.38 million shares of Copa for $35.75 a share, for net proceeds of approximately $149.8 million.[4]

In November 2008, Copa chief executive Pedro Heilbron on the ALTA airline leaders forum in Cancun said that Copa Airlines has decided to leave the Skyteam and is in exclusive talks with the Star Alliance.[1]


  • Copa Airlines announced that they are going to leave the Skyteam on October 24, 2009, on the same date that its partner Continental Airlines leaves Skyteam.[6]
  • On July 16th, 2009, the Panamanian carrier Copa Airlines has announced the firm order for 13 Boeing 737-800 that will come with the new Boeing's signature "Sky Interior".[7]


  • During this year, Copa Airlines has added two Boeing 737-800 to its fleet. They were used to add a second daily flight to Punta Cana, Sao Paulo and Los Angeles, plus a fourth daily flight to Guatemala.
  • It plans to receive 9 737-800 throughout 2010, of which 2 have already been delivered.

Awards and honors

View of an Embraer 190 and other Copa Airlines aircraft at the Hub of the Americas at Tocumen International Airport.
  • November 2002: Best Regionalization in Latin America Award, PODER Magazine, Booz, Allen & Hamilton and Egon Zehnder International. [8]
  • December 2002: "Tourism without Borders" Award, Federation of Tourism Chambers of Central America.[8]
  • April 2003: "Developing Airline of the Year” Award, AirFinance Journal.[8]
  • 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.[8]
  • June 2004: Among the 25 Best Employers in Latin America, América Economía magazine.[8]
  • June 2005: "Best Airline" and "Best On-board Service" in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean Awards, Skytrax. [9]
  • June 2006: "Best Airline" and "Best Cabin Staff" in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean Awards, Skytrax.[10]
  • October 2006: One of the 10 Best Employers in Latin America, América Economía magazine. [11]


Copa Airlines currently flies to 45 destinations in 24 countries in North America, Central America, South America and The Caribbean.


The Copa Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft as of May 2009:

Copa Airlines Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers
Boeing 737-700 20 0 (12/112) 124
Boeing 737-800 10 25 (14/141) 155
(16/144) 160
Embraer E-190 15 2 (10/84) 94
  • Copa Airlines was the launch customer of the Embraer E-190 in Latin America.
  • The average age of Copa’s aircraft is approximately 4.3 years as of February 13, 2009.[5]
  • In October 2004, Copa announced an order to purchase ten new Embraer E-190 aircraft with options for a further 20 new aircraft. Later the firm orders were increased by exercising five of the options. Six aircraft were delivered in the first quarter of 2007.[2] In June 2007 the airline took delivery of its seventh Embraer E-190 aircraft and is due to receive four more during 2007. The aircraft are configured with 10 seats in Clase Ejecutiva (Business Class) and 84 seats in economy.[12][13][14][15][16]
  • As of May 31, 2007, the airline has firm commitments to purchase four Boeing 737-Next Generation(series -800) and ten Embraer E-190, with a list price of approximately $1.1 billion.[2][17]
  • On December 30, 2008, Copa Airlines has announced the firm order for another four Boeing 737-800.[5][18][19]
  • On July 16, 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".[7]


OnePass is Copa Airlines frequent flyer program through partnership with Continental Airlines, offering regular travelers the ability to obtain free tickets, First Class upgrades on flights, discounted membership for its airport lounge (President's Club), or other types of rewards. Customers accumulate miles from flight segments they fly through Copa Airlines, Continental Airlines or other partners. OnePass elite tiers are Silver, Gold, and Platinum Elite which have benefits such as complimentary upgrades, mileage bonus, priority check-in and priority boarding.

In addition to its Continental Airlines, Continental Express, Continental Connection, AeroRepública, and Star Alliance partnerships, Copa Airlines has frequent flyer partnerships with the following airlines:

Copa Airlines Bag Drop Counter.

Copa Airlines also offers frequent flyer partnerships with the following car rental companies:

Presidents Club

The Presidents Club is the membership airport lounge program jointly operated with Continental Airlines. Copa Airlines lounge is located in its hub at Tocumen International Airport, Panama City, Panama. Presidents Club lounges offer amenities for travelers and members also have access to affiliated lounges around the world.

The Presidents Club locations are listed below:

Codeshare agreements

Copa Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
(This list does not include Star Alliance airlines)

Incidents and accidents


  1. ^ "Copa Holdings, S.A. Files Annual Report Form 20-F". Yahoo Finance. 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  2. ^ a b c "Copa Holdings SA". United States Securities & Exchange Commission Form 20-F. 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  3. ^ La Prensa (In Spanish)
  4. ^ "Copa says Continental Airlines sold remaining stake in company". Thomson Financial News (Forbes). 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2008-05-31. 
  5. ^ a b c "Copa Airlines takes delivery of its # 8 Boeing 737-800". 13/02/09. 
  6. ^ "Copa Airlines leaves Skyteam". 13/05/09. 
  7. ^ a b "Copa Airlines firms orders". July 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Copa Airlines Awards/Honours". Copa Airlines - Our History. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  9. ^ "World Airlines Awards 2005". Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  10. ^ "World Airlines Awards 2006". Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  11. ^ "Copa Airlines Again Named to List of 'Best Employers in Latin America'". RedOrbit. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  12. ^ "Copa Airlines Takes Delivery of Its Seventh Embraer 190". Copa Airlines (UK website). 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  13. ^ "Copa Airlines takes delivery of its # 12 Embraer 190 Embraer 190". 2008-04-14. 
  14. ^ "Copa Airlines takes delivery of its # 13 Embraer 190 Embraer 190". 2008-05-19. 
  15. ^ "Copa Airlines takes delivery of its # 14 Embraer 190 Embraer 190". 2008-10-13. 
  16. ^ "Copa Airlines takes delivery of its # 15 Embraer 190 Embraer 190". 2008-11-17. 
  17. ^ "Copa Airlines takes delivery of its # 7 Boeing 737-800". 2008-06-06. 
  18. ^ "Copa Airlines firm order for four Boeing 737-800". 2008-12-30. 
  19. ^ "Copa Airlines firms orders". September 2008. 

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address