When one thinks of a global airline, Turkish Airlines, American Airlines, Qatar Airways, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, and many more come to mind. However, there’s another player: Panama’s Copa Airlines. Copa Airlines flies Boeing 737s on long-haul routes. Here’s a look at just a few routes.
Flying down to Uruguay
Flying from Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport (PTY) to Montevideo’s Carrasco International Airport (MVD), this seven-hour route is the longest in Copa Airlines’ route network. This route spans 3,385 miles or around 5,447 kilometers.
This route can see up to two daily flights. Currently, however, it is operating on a reduced schedule a few times a week.
A partner airline hub
Copa Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance. As such, it has a deep relationship with United Airlines in the United States. This partnership actually goes back to Continental Airlines, which merged with United Airlines in 2012. In fact, the partnership was so deep that Continental (and formerly United) and Copa had very similar liveries. Although, this is ending soon as United unveils a new livery on more and more aircraft.
As for this route, the one we are referencing is 3,320 miles (5,343 kilometers) and connects a tech-hub to Panama. Flying nonstop from San Francisco (SFO) to Panama City, this route can take up to 7.5 hours.
This route was actually a regular Boeing 737 MAX route before the grounding. Since then, Copa has been forced to fly a Boeing 737-800 on the route.
This route is a good one that provides easy one-stop connections from Panama to a host of destinations across East Asia, where United flies to from San Francisco. In addition, the route also provides some Pacific Northwest and West Coast connectivity.
Not far from Montevideo…
…is Buenos Aires! This is another long-haul route that spans 3,313 miles (5,331 kilometers). Copa has been flying to Buenos Aires since 1992, marking nearly 30 years of service to the Argentinian capital.
This route usually clocks in between six and a half and seven hours. Copa flies to Buenos Aires-Ezeiza (EZE), which is the main international airport in Buenos Aires.
Brazilian routes are some of the longest
Copa Airlines flies to the following destinations in Brazil:
- Rio de Janeiro (GIG) is 3,285 miles from PTY (5,287 km)
- Recife (REC) is 3,284 miles from PTY (5,285 km)
- Porto Alegre (POA) is 3,277 miles from PTY (5,274 km)
- Salvador (SSA) is 3,199 miles (5,148 km) from PTY
- Sao Paulo (GRU) is 3,154 miles (5,076 km) from PTY
There is also Panama City to Belo Horizonte (CNF), but clocking in at 3,116 miles (5,015 km), this is just a tad shorter than Panama City to Rosario (ROS) in Argentina, which clocks in at 3,136 miles (5,047 kilometers).
Most of these routes are flown by Boeing 737-800s, usually by ones that have 16 seats in business class and 138 in economy. Business class on the 737-800s is a recliner-style product, while coach is pretty standard for a Boeing 737.
However, several of these routes, if not all of them, are likely to be taken over by the Boeing 737 MAX 9. This will be a boon for passengers in terms of onboard product, since Copa’s 737 MAX 9s are equipped with lie-flat business class seats. On a route as long as some of these, stretching six to seven hours, a lie-flat seat might be a necessity for premium passengers, especially given the intense competition on routes to and from South America.
The 737 Next Generations do not have the same range as the MAX 9, so definitely, Copa has to monitor these routes to ensure the planes are not overweighed so that they would not be able to complete any of these routes nonstop.
Have you flown on any of these Copa routes? Let us know in the comments!