Latin American carrier Copa Airlines has laid out its expansion plans for 2023.
This year’s planned initiatives focus on strengthening the Hub of the Americas® in Panama City, it’s primary connection center in the region.
The airline has plans to increase its network of destinations and flight frequencies, as well as growing and improving its fleet of aircraft.
Speaking on the announcement of its 2023 expansion plan, Pedro Heilbron, Chief Executive Officer at Copa Airlines said:
“Copa Airlines has been investing in Panama for more than 75 years, which has helped us become the leading airline in the region.”
“Turning the Hub of the Americas® into Latin America’s preferred connection by facilitating connectivity and contributing in boosting the economic, social, and tourism sectors of both Panama and Latin America.”
“To remain sustainable and thrive in the current complex and competitive environment, the airline seeks to boost its growth, generate jobs, and increase our direct contributions to the country’s economy.”
Copa Airlines fleet additions
As part of their 2023 plans, Copa Airlines confirmed the recent addition of 15 new B737MAX aircraft, an investment of $2.1 billion, to their latest order.
These aircraft are additions to the existing 2015 order and are expected to be delivered within the next 5 years.
In 2023, the airline expects to receive six additional Boeing 737 MAX9, bringing its current fleet to a total of 99 airplanes, comprising 32 B737 MAX9, 58 B737 800NB, and 9 B-737-7000NG.
Training fleet refurbishment
Copa Airlines is also planning to refurbish the training fleet of the Latin American Aviation Academy (ALAS) by acquiring 8 new Diamond DA40/42 airplanes.
The aircraft will be equipped with cutting-edge technology, which will facilitate the learning process while adhering to the highest safety standards.
In addition, these airplanes are eco-friendly, consuming up to 50% less fuel than the ones being replaced, ensuring a greener and more sustainable future for the airline industry.
Copa Airlines also announced the acquisition of a fifth flight simulator B737MAX to enhance the training of its pilots. This new addition will increase the airline’s training capacity needed to help meet the growing demands of Copa Airlines.
Strengthening Panama connectivity
During the first quarter of 2023, Copa Airlines will introduce three new destinations including Baltimore and Austin in the United States, and Manta in Ecuador, for a total of 80 destinations in 33 countries throughout the Americas.
The airline’s international connectivity surpasses that of other hubs in the region, making it a competitive advantage for Panama. The Hub of the Americas® plays a strategic role in the country’s economy, and its unique connectivity has attracted airlines from around the world to complement their flights to the Central American country.
By incorporating three new routes and increasing flight frequencies to a variety of destinations, Copa Airlines estimates an 11% growth in the number of passengers in 2023 compared to 2022.
At the end of 2023, it expects to transport 16.1 million passengers while operating 328 daily flights, exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
Increasing tourism in Panama
The carrier will be instrumental in developing both tourism and the regional economy in the Panama region as it progresses through 2023.
Copa Airlines will continue to implement successful initiatives that promote tourism and economic growth in Panama, such as the “Panama Stopover” program, which encourages in-transit passengers to spend a few days in the country.
Since 2019, the program has attracted more than 260,000 visitors, and it is estimated that over 115,000 tourists will take advantage of the Panama Stopover in 2023.
In addition, Copa continues to market promotional fares to Panama through the “Irresistible Panama” initiative, which accomplished a visitor increase of 27% onboard the airline’s flights.
It also contributed to the promotion and publicity of the country through its social media channels, copa.com, and other advertising spaces owned by the brand such as Panorama, Copa’s onboard magazine.
At the same time, the airline’s growth will continue to positively benefit the production and progress of local businesses since 100% of the products used onboard Copa flights are 100% Panamanian for the enjoyment of millions of passengers that travel with the airline throughout the continent.
Currently, small Panamanian businesses such as Café Rogusta, Comercializadora Nico and F&F Foods, are the primary providers of products available onboard Copa flights.