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Panama City-based Copa Airlines operates service through two principal operating subsidiaries, Copa and AeroRepública (Columbia). Copa currently operates scheduled service to 45 destinations across North, Central and South America and the Caribbean from Panama. Subsidiary AeroRepública provides regional service within Colombia and neighbouring countries. Copa operates a fleet of Boeing 737NG aircraft and Embraer E190. Copa joined the Star Alliance in Apr-2012.
Location of COPA main hub (Panama City Tocumen International Airport)
Copa Airlines share price
402 total articles
36 total articles
Boston Logan Airport’s recent spree of attracting new international service continues as direct flights to Dubai are scheduled to come online in Mar-2014. Emirates Airline is to begin new service that will offer connections throughout its expanding network that covers the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australasia.
The service caps off an interesting round of new and key international destinations from Boston. JAL during 2012 introduced direct flights to Tokyo Narita followed by Copa’s launch of direct flights to Latin America’s key connection point in Panama. Emirates’ new service to Dubai will be followed by the introduction of flights to Istanbul by Turkish Airlines in May-2014.
Emirates’ service to Boston further solidifies its leading-carrier status among the three big Gulf Airlines to the United States. But as has been the case for the last couple of years, its competitors Etihad and Qatar plan to catch up as Etihad has previously stated it plans to table new North American destinations and Qatar has listed Boston as a potential new market in the US.
Given the quickly changing competitive dynamics those three carriers are ushering into the global market place, there is sure to be an interesting response from Emirates’ rivals to these latest moves in North America. Hopefully this will be in the marketplace rather than in the corridors of Congress.
Avianca’s closure of its hub in Costa Rica has opened up opportunities for other carriers, particularly US carriers and Panama-based Copa. The Latin American airline group significantly downgraded its operation at the Costa Rican capital San Jose in late 2Q2013 as it cut five routes and reduced frequency on three others. Avianca previously considered San Jose as one of its four hubs but now calls it a focus city.
US carriers have been adding capacity to San Jose, with Delta launching service to Los Angeles, one of six destinations cut by Avianca. JetBlue has launched service to Fort Lauderdale.
Copa Airlines is also adding capacity to San Jose and will become the airport’s largest carrier in early Oct-2013, when it adds a ninth daily flight from Panama City. Avianca was using San Jose as a competing north-south hub although the number of transit passengers had been small compared to its other hubs and miniscule compared to Copa’s hub in Panama City.
This is the second in a two-part series of reports on the fast-growing Panamanian market. The first part looked at the opportunities for growth in Panama’s under-served long-haul market as in Nov-2013 Air France will become only the third carrier operating widebody services to Panama, joining KLM and Iberia.
This part looks at the outlook for Panama-based Copa Airlines, which currently accounts for 86% of seat capacity at Panama City and continues to pursue rapid expansion. Copa has emerged as the leading carrier in the intra-Latin America market and has consistently been one of the world’s most profitable airline groups.
Copa has successfully leveraged Panama’s strategic location in the middle of the Americas region and the superior infrastructure of Panama’s Tocumen Airport compared with other Latin American hubs. Copa Holdings is focusing on more rapid international short/medium-haul growth as it further cuts its domestic operation in Colombia and continues to rely on partner carriers to serve markets beyond the Americas.
Rapid economic growth and the emergence of the largest hub for intra-Latin America travel have firmly put Panama on the global aviation map. But the market is only now starting to capture attention from airlines outside the Americas.
Air France has unveiled plans to launch service to Panama City in Nov-2013, becoming only the third widebody passenger operator in the market. More European carriers and potentially one of the three main Gulf carriers will almost certainly follow.
Panama City is an attractive and fast-growing hub for accessing other markets in Central America and portions of South America and the Caribbean. It is also a strong destination in its own right, with expansion of the Panama Canal and Panama City’s emergence as a regional financial centre driving increasing demand for business travel.
Avianca-TACA will come full circle during 2H2013 as its various airlines unify under the Avianca brand more than three years after the Avianca-TACA merger kickstarted consolidation in Latin America and drove the decision by LAN and TAM to form what is now the region’s powerhouse LATAM Airlines Group. During 2013 the competition between the two largest airline groups in Latin American will only intensify in the markets where they already compete fiercely – Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
With Avianca-TACA completing its merger more than two years ahead of LATAM, Avianca-TACA has the benefit of harvesting a combined network whereas LATAM is just beginning to ferret out the benefits of its newly combined network resources.
In addition to continued competitive pressure from LATAM during 2013 Avianca-TACA will also encounter some new competition on international flights from Ecuador and some pressure from startup VivaColombia in its largest market Colombia. At the same time Avianca-TACA continues to battle infrastructure constraints at its largest hub Bogota, which could result in further expansion at its Lima and San Salvador hubs.
LATAM Airlines Group announced on 07-Mar-2013 that its TAM, TAM Paraguay and LAN Colombia subsidiaries would join its sister carriers in oneworld, confirming moves which had been considered a foregone conclusion for 18 months. The Star Alliance now faces the risk of not having a member in Brazil, one of the world’s most important growth markets, after TAM shifts from Star to oneworld in 2Q2014. But the void will not last long as Brazil’s fourth largest carrier, Avianca Brazil, will almost certainly join its sister carriers in Star, potentially by the end of 2014.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s second largest carrier Gol continues to be wooed by SkyTeam. With TAM moving to oneworld and Avianca Brazil expected to join Star, the stakes mount for SkyTeam while the benefit of maintaining independence for Gol diminishes.
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