Copa Airlines, a subsidiary of Copa Holdings, SA and a member of the Star Alliance global airline network, celebrated its 75th anniversary with the unveiling of a Boeing 737-800 NG model aircraft, recalling the image that the airline had in the 1990s , a period that was characterized by the beginning of what would become the Hub of the Americas® and the expansion of the route network with the vision of connecting America and making the wonders of Panama known.
“With this Boeing 737-800 NG painted in the colors that our fleet wore at the beginning of the 90s, we want to commemorate a key time in our history, when we started what would come to be called the Hub of the Americas® and the transformation of Cup in the leading airline in the region. It is a story that is full of great commitment and achievements, but above all, the great effort of our people to overcome all the challenges we have encountered along the way and proudly carry the Panamanian flag through the skies of America for 75 years” commented Pedro Heilbron, executive president of Copa Airlines.
The Boeing 737-800 NG, registration HP-1841, was painted at the Copa Airlines Maintenance Center, located at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City. More than 30 people participated in the process, including aviation painters, designers, and engineers, and required a total of 2,500 man-hours over a period of more than 15 days of work.
After the unveiling event ended, the first flight assigned to the Boeing 737-800 NG with commemorative design was CM808 and it took place on the route Panama City – New York, United States. This aircraft will cross the skies of the continent on designated routes between the more than 75 destinations in the 32 countries where Copa Airlines currently maintains operations, thus carrying on its history and remembering what the Company’s fleet of Boeing 737-200 looked like between the years 1988 and 2005.
The road to recovery
At the end of the first half of 2022, Copa Airlines closed at 88% of the seat capacity it had in the same period in 2019. According to the Airline’s projections, it is estimated that it will take between three and four years to recover from the financial loss it had. during the pandemic in 2020. To date, they have reactivated 71 of the 80 routes that were pre-pandemic and incorporated six new routes: Armenia, Cúcuta and Santa Marta in Colombia; Barcelona, Venezuela; Atlanta, United States; Felipe Angeles Airport in Mexico City.
Projections indicate that the Airline will continue to be one of the largest private sector employers in Panama. At the end of 2022, it estimates to have more than 6,800
collaborators in its workforce and expects to close 2023 with 7,500 collaborators in Panama, 3% above the level of 2019.
By the end of 2022, the Airline will have generated more than 1,300 new jobs in Panama, in various positions: cabin crew, pilots, operating personnel, aviation mechanics and administrative personnel. These contracts are supported by the efforts and investments that the airline is making in the Latin American Aviation Academy (ALAS), the Aeronautical Technicians Academy (ATA) and the Cabin Crew Academy, created with the mission of training technical workforce Panamanian trained with the highest international standards in the industry.