DATA SPOTLIGHT: Copa Airlines

This year The Blue Swan Daily will feature some of the leading airlines, airports and country markets for air travel. Here, using the extensive profile insights available to CAPA – Centre for Aviation members to deliver a data snapshot, we look at Copa Airlines, a carrier that has successfully delivered an efficient hub-and-spoke operation connecting travellers around the Americas through Panama City.

With a limited home market a transit-based network structure was always the best course of action for Copa Airlines, but will changing traveller habits in the post Covid-19 environment mean it will need to adjust? As its CEO Pedro Heilbron commented  when the carrier initially resumed operations it was “more similar to what we were 28 years ago than to what we were 28 days ago”.

Capacity levels have flat-lined for much of this year, but with a solid financial foundation with a strong balance sheet heading into the pandemic, and positive efforts to strengthen its liquidity as the crisis dragged on, means it has a sustainable platform to grow from.

By YE2020 Copa could operate around 40% of the capacity it deployed in 2019, and the company is readjusting and working to size its fleet to accommodate what could be much lower demand for the next couple of years.

Copa has announced plans to sell its 14 Boeing 737-700s and the airline does not expect to operate the aircraft again. The carrier also signed a contract for the sale of its 14 Embraer E190s and six spare engines and parts in Jul-2020.

“It’s hard to predict right now, but short term demand, short term is down 90%”, Mr Heilbron acknowledges. “And if we look, let’s say, five, six months ahead, it is down 75%. That’s what we’re seeing right now. And of course, our capacity is going to match demand, and it’s going to get adjusted accordingly.”

Right now though, Copa remains a shadow of its former self with a very, very limited current operation.

ABOUT
Founded in 1947 by a group of Panamanian businessmen in partnership with Pan American World Airways, Copa Airlines is a full-service carrier that provides services to destinations throughout North America, South America and the Caribbean from its hub at Panama City Tocumen International Airport. After a series of separate ownership changes and alliance agreements Continental Airlines acquired a 49% stake in Copa in 1998. By May-2008, Continental had sold out of its holding. Though, following Continental’s merger with United Airlines, Copa continues to cooperate extensively with the carrier via codesharing agreements. In 2005, AeroRepublica (now Copa Airlines Columbia), a domestic and regional airline operating in Columbia, was acquired by group company, Copa Holdings to bolster the group’s presence in that market segment. Copa Holdings SA is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker (CPA). Copa operates a fleet of Boeing 737NG and Embraer E190 aircraft. The carrier became a member of the Star Alliance in Apr-2012.

GLOBAL RANKING (as at 17-Aug-2020)

NETWORK MAP (as at 17-Aug-2020)

DESTINATIONS (as at 17-Aug-2020)

ANNUAL PASSENGER TRAFFIC (2010 – 2020YTD)

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT (versus same week last year)

ANNUAL CAPACITY (2012-2020*)(NOTE:The values for this year are at least partly predictive up to 6 months and may be subject to change)

WEEKLY DOMESTIC CAPACITY (2017 – 2020*)(NOTE:The values for this year are at least partly predictive up to 6 months and may be subject to change)

WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL CAPACITY (2017 – 2020*)(NOTE:The values for this year are at least partly predictive up to 6 months and may be subject to change)

CAPACITY SPLIT BETWEEN DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS (w/c 17-Aug-2020)

LARGEST NETWORK POINT (w/c 17-Aug-2020)

LARGEST INTERNATIONAL MARKETS BY COUNTRY (w/c 17-Aug-2020)

BUSIEST INTERNATIONAL ROUTES BY CAPACITY (w/c 17-Aug-2020)

DEPARTING SYSTEM SEATS BY CLASS (w/c 17-Aug-2020)

AVERAGE FLIGHT LENGTH (w/c 17-Aug-2020)

FLEET SUMMARY (as at 17-Aug-2020)

AVERAGE FLEET AGE (as at 17-Aug-2020)

MORE INSIGHT…

Copa Airlines restarts flights backed by solid financial foundation

COVID-19: major uncertainty clouds Latin America’s potential

COVID19: Latin American airlines now dramatically cut capacity

Copa Airlines ups 2019 guidance, despite 737 MAX grounding