The Panamanian carrier Copa Airlines announced its expansion plans for 2023 which include the launch of new international routes, the arrival of additional Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, and fleet investment in its Aviation Academy.
Growth for Copa Airlines
Last week, Copa Airlines announced that this year’s planned initiatives focus on strengthening its presence at Tocumen International Airport, also known as the ‘Hub of the Americas.’ The airline will increase its network of destinations and flight frequencies and grow and improve its fleet of aircraft.
“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,” said Pedro Heilbron, Chief Executive Officer at Copa Airlines.
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.
By incorporating three new routes and increasing flight frequencies to various destinations, Copa Airlines estimates an 11% growth in the number of passengers in 2023 compared to 2022. By 2023, it expects to transport 16.1 million passengers while operating 328 daily flights, exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
Copa’s growth plans include attracting more travelers to visit Panama –instead of using Tocumen only as a connection airport– through its ‘Panama Stopover’ program. This program has led to 261,000 visitors entering the country since 2019 by taking advantage of their layover in the city, and it’s projected that an additional 115,000 visitors will do the same by the end of 2023.
This year, Copa Airlines expects to receive six additional Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft. At the end of 2023, the Panamanian flag carrier should have a fleet of 99 aircraft, comprised of 32 Boeing 737 MAX 9, 58 Boeing 737-800 NGs, and nine Boeing 737-700 NGs.
Additionally, as part of 2023 plans, Copa Airlines confirmed the recent addition of 15 new MAX aircraft, an investment of $2.1 billion to the company’s initial order from 2015.
To address the additional need for new pilots, the airline is investing in the fleet of the Latin American Aviation Academy (ALAS, in Spanish). It will acquire eight new Diamond DA40/42 airplanes. According to Copa, these planes “will be equipped with cutting-edge technology, facilitating 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 company’s growing demands.
Daniel Martínez Garbuno is a Mexican journalist. He has specialized in the air industry working mainly for A21, a Mexican media outlet focused entirely on the aviation world. He has also published on other sites like Simple Flying, Roads & Kingdoms, Proceso, El Economista, Buzos de la Noticia, Contenido, and Notimex.