Copa Airlines, the largest airline in Central America and a Star Alliance member, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year with the unveiling of a special livery on one of its Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft. This livery reminisces the company’s image in the 1990s, a period when the company began to consolidate its operations in the “Hub of the Americas” by expanding its route network with the goal of connecting all the Americas and highlighting the wonders of Panama.
“With this Boeing 737-800 NG painted in the colors of our fleet in the early 1990s, we want to commemorate a key period in our history, when we began what would come to be called the Hub of the Americas® and the transformation of Copa into the region’s leading airline. It is a story filled with much commitment and achievement, but above all with much effort from our people to overcome all the challenges we have encountered along the way and proudly carry the Panamanian flag through the skies of the Americas for 75 years, »said Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines.
The Boeing 737-800 NG, registration HP-1841, was painted at Copa Airlines’ Maintenance Center, located at Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport (PTY). The process involved more than 30 workers including aviation painters, designers and engineers, and required a total of 2,500 man-hours over a period of more than 15 working days.
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After the unveiling event, the first operation assigned to the aircraft with the special livery will be CM808 and is scheduled to take place this August 31st on the Panama City (PTY) – New York (JFK) route.
This Boeing 737-800 will take to the skies of the continent on designated services between the more than 75 destinations in the 32 countries where Copa Airlines currently operates, carrying its history and recalling the company’s image on the Boeing 737-200 fleet between 1988 and 2005.
Post-Covid Recovery Process
After the Panamanian government began to relax health restrictions, the company began to recover its pre-pandemic capacity. By the end of the first half of 2022, Copa Airlines closed at 88% of the seat capacity it had in that same period in 2019.
According to the company’s projections, it is estimated between three and four years to recover from the financial losses it had during the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. It has now reactivated 71 of the 80 routes it operated prior to the pandemic and added six new non-stop services: Armenia (AXM), Cucuta (CUC), Santa Marta (SMR), Barcelona, Venezuela (BLA), Atlanta (ATL) and Felipe Angeles Airport in Mexico City (NLU).
Projections indicate that the company will continue to be one of the largest private sector employers in Panama. By the end of 2022, it estimates to have more than 6,800 employees in its workforce and expects to close 2023 with 7,500 employees in Panama, 3% above the 2019 level.
By the end of 2022, Copa Airlines will have created more than 1,300 new jobs in Panama, in various positions: cabin crew, pilots, operational personnel, aviation mechanics and administrative personnel. These hires are supported by the efforts and investments the airline is making in the Latin American Aviation Academy (ALAS), the Academy of Aeronautical Technicians (ATA) and the Cabin Crew Academy, created with the mission of training manpower.
See also: Copa Airlines to increase flights to Argentina