published: 2018-12-25 17:00:00
Compañía Panameña de Aviación, S.A., (NYSE: CPA) (commonly referred to and branded simply as “Copa Airlines”) is the flag carrier of Panama. It is headquartered in Panama City, Panama, with its main hub at Tocumen International Airport. Copa is a subsidiary of Copa Holdings, S.A. as well as a member of the Star Alliance. The airline is also the main operator and owner of Colombian airline AeroRepública, currently known as Copa Airlines Colombia.
Copa was founded in 1947 and it began domestic operations to three cities in Panama shortly afterwards. The airline then abandoned its domestic flights in 1980, in favor of international flights. In 1998, Copa formed a partnership with Continental Airlines, adopting a new brand image and the OnePass frequent flyer program and later replaced by MileagePlus, which was replaced by ConnectMiles in July 2015.
The airline was established as Compañía Panameña de Aviación (hence the acronym COPA) on June 21, 1944, and started operations on August 15, 1947. It was founded by a group of prominent Panamanian investors with assistance from Pan American World Airways, who took a 32% stake. It began operating domestic flights with a small fleet of Douglas DC-3 aircraft. The airline started its first international flights in the early 1970s, with services to cities in Jamaica, Colombia, and Costa Rica. Turboprop aircraft operated by Copa included the Hawker Siddeley HS 748 and Lockheed L-188 Electra.
Until the early 1980s, the airline had significant competition from Air Panamá Internacional, which had a higher profile. Copa discontinued domestic flights in 1980 and acquired its first jet, a Boeing 737-100. Today, the airline operates flights to a number of destinations in the U.S. and Canada including Chicago (ORD), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Montreal (YUL), New Orleans (MSY), New York City (JFK), Orlando (MCO), San Francisco (SFO), Tampa (TPA), Toronto (YYZ) and Washington, D.C. (IAD) as well as to other destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America. Until the introduction of the Embraer 190 in 2005, the airline had an all-Boeing 737 fleet.
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