Latin American carrier, Copa Airlines is to introduce a third market in Cuba to its network this year as it seeks to take advantage of growing demand to the Caribbean Island as the relaxing of a restrictive bilateral air agreement with the US opens up the market to more international arrivals. The airline will launch a twice weekly service to Frank País International Airport in Holguin from its Tocumen International Airport ‘Hub of the Americas’ base in Panama City from June 21, 2016.
The flights will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays and have been scheduled to provide convenient connections in Panama to Santiago, Chile; Buenos Aires and Cordoba, Argentina; Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador; Montevideo, Uruguay; Lima, Peru; San Jose, Costa Rica; Bogotá, Colombia; Sao Pablo, Brazil; Mexico City and Cancun, México; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Caracas, Venezuela; and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
Star Alliance member Copa Airlines flies to 73 destinations in 31 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean through its Hub of the Americas in Panama, which offers more international connections than any other hub in Latin America.
“We are pleased to announce Holguín as our third destination in Cuba, which will enhance connectivity between that country and the rest of the continent, and contribute to the development of tourism and trade opportunities,” said Pedro Heilbron, Chief Executive Officer, Copa Airlines. “We are committed to expanding connectivity to Cuba, helping raise its profile as a tourism and cultural epicenter of the region.”
Considered the third-most important leisure destination on the island, Holguin’s numerous tourist attractions make it one of Cuba’s most important cities. The destination, in the southeast of Cuba, offers more than 40 beaches with crystal-clear waters, a rich marine life and forests for travellers to explore.
Copa already has more than 20 years of experience in the Cuban market and now offers seven daily flights between Panama City and Havana and since 2014 also a four times weekly link to Santa Clara. According to schedule data from OAG, the airline has grown its annual capacity into Cuba by 77.1 per cent since the start of the decade, an average annual rise of 15.4 per cent.
In the past two years capacity rose by a more modest 6.3 per cent (2014) and 3.0 per cent (2015), but is forecast to grow 17.8 per cent this year due to an additional daily flight to Havana, more flights to Santa Clara and the new link to Holguin. More than 1,275 passengers a day are flying with Copa Airlines in and out of Cuba, according to MIDT data for the first six months of 2015.