Copa Airlines Adds Boston Link to Growing Panama City Hub

Copa Airlines has confirmed that the US city of Boston will be added to its route network from its Tocumen International Airport hub in Panama City as part of its expanded flight offering for the current year.  The US city may be the only new destination for the carrier but the arrival of seven new Boeing 737-800s means a number of existing routes will also see frequency growth.

The new daily link between Panama City and the important academic, business and cultural US city of Boston will be launched from July 10, 2013 and will be the eighth US destination to be served directly by carrier from Tocumen International Airport, dubbed the ‘Hub of the Americas’.  The airline expects to generate stable point-to-point demand but significant transfer flows, most notably to destinations in Central and South America such as Sao Paulo, Bogota, San Jose, Lima and Santiago.

According to our analysis, an estimated 304,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled between Boston and destinations across Central America and South America in the year ending September 2012, with the largest flows being to the markets of Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala and Peru.  In the table at the end of the article we highlight the ten largest O&D markets in Central America and South America from Boston Logan International Airport suggesting which routes will generate the most transfer traffic via Panama City.

This new Copa Airlines service will be only the second non-stop link from Boston to Central and South America alongside the flights to Cancun, Mexico from Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and US Airways.  In the past couple of decades Aeromexico had offered links to Mexico City and LCSA and TACA International flights to San Salvador but these terminated in the mid-2000s.

Alongside the new route Copa Airlines is also increasing frequencies on some existing routes.  By mid-year a fourth daily rotation will be added to Orlando, Florida, a fourth daily flight added to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and a second rotation )operating five times weekly) introduced to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

"Copa continues its sustained growth in 2013, strengthening our leadership position in Latin America through our Hub of the Americas - the most successful and efficient hub for flights to, from and within Latin America," said Pedro Heilbron, Chief Executive Officer, Copa Airlines.  "These efforts will increase the appeal of our product, allowing us to offer our passengers more flight options and destinations with unsurpassed regional connectivity, an on-time performance level among the best in the industry and world-class service." 

The network growth strengthens the airline's regional leadership and hub concept of offering fast and efficient connections throughout Latin America via Panama City.  The continuous growth of Copa during the last few years has not only positively impacted the Panamanian economy, but also the development of commerce and tourism across Latin America.

Last year was a landmark year for Copa Airlines as it became a member of the Star Alliance global airline grouping.  During the 12 months it carried 10.1 million passengers, a 17 per cent increase on 2011 thanks to its network and fleet growth.  The arrival of ten new 737-800 facilitated the launch of services to Curacao; Guanacaste, Costa Rica; Recife, Brazil; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Iquitos, Peru and the addition of 87 flight frequencies to existing destinations as capacity grew 24 per cent.  With the latest schedule changes, from July 2013 Copa Airlines will serve 65 destinations in 29 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean from its Hub of the Americas at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City.

ESTIMATED O&D PASSENGER FLOWS FROM BOSTON LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (bi-directional O&D passengers; 12 months until September 2012)

Central America

South America

Rank

Destination

Passengers

% Demand

Rank

Destination

Passengers

% Demand

1

San José (SJO)

32,867

29.3 %

1

Sao Paulo (GRU)

36,860

19.3 %

2

Guatemala City (GUA)

21,129

18.8 %

2

Bogota (BOG)

21,691

11.3 %

3

Panama City (PTY)

12,610

11.2 %

3

Lima (LIM)

18,910

9.9 %

4

Managua (MGA)

9,892

8.8 %

4

Caracas (CCS)

16,467

8.6 %

5

Liberia (LIR)

9,504

8.5 %

5

Buenos Aires (EZE)

14,562

7.6 %

6

San Salvador (SAL)

8,616

7.7 %

6

Rio de Janeiro (GIG)

12,292

6.4 %

7

San Pedro Sula (SAP)

8,231

7.3 %

7

Santiago (SCL)

11,591

6.1 %

8

Belize (BZE)

5,296

4.7 %

8

Belo Horizonte (CNF)

8,579

4.5 %

9

Tegucigalpa (TGU)

3,406

3.0 %

9

Medellin (MDE)

7,194

3.8 %

10

Roatan (RTB)

783

0.7 %

10

Quito (UIO)

5,776

3.0 %

TOTAL

112,337

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TOTAL

191,183

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