Copa Airlines is looking to accelerate the delivery of several Boeing 737 MAX units, according to Pedro Heilbron, Chief Executive Officer, and Director. During Copa’s third-quarter investors call, the airline’s management discussed the arrival of future aircraft into the company.
Recovery mode: on
Since restarting its operations in the third quarter of 2020, Copa Airlines has increased the number of flights. The carrier has gone from almost zero to nearly 70% of its pre-pandemic capacity by the end of 2021’s third quarter.
Going forward, the carrier expects further relaxation of travel restrictions and a continued demand recovery, therefore allowing additional capacity in the fourth quarter and 2022.
By the end of the year, Copa will provide service to 72 destinations in the Americas. By 2022, the Panamanian carrier expects to recover service to the rest of its pre-pandemic network. Copa will strengthen its position “at the most complete and convenient hub in Latin America,” Pedro Heilbron said. In 2019, the airline connected with every American country from Tocumen International Airport in Panama City.
Since the recovery is going strong in Latin America, Copa Airlines is looking ahead to increasing its fleet.
According to Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries database, it has 41 unfilled orders with Copa Airlines. The carrier expects to receive several B737 MAX (models -8, -9, and -10) in the near future. And some will arrive sooner than expected.
Pedro Heilbron explained,
“During the quarter, we agreed with Boeing to accelerate the delivery of 12 737 MAX 9 that were originally intended to be delivered starting in 2025.”
Copa Airlines will receive two of these aircraft in 2022 for a total of seven MAX 9 deliveries. The other ten aircraft will be added to Copa’s deliveries from 2023 through 2025.
Between October and December 2021, the airline will receive two aircraft, B737-8, Heilbron added.
In July, Copa finalized the sale and delivery of its last Embraer 190. Additionally, the carrier delivered two Boeing 737-700 to their new owner. Copa Airlines closed the third quarter with 87 aircraft, composed of 68 B737-800, 13 737 MAX 9s, and six B737-700.
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On The Rise: Copa Airlines Reports Net Profit For Q3 2021
Copa Airlines reported a net profit for the second quarter in the row, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Panamanian flag carrier posted an $8.2 million net profit during the quarter. During the second quarter, Copa reported a net profit of $28.1 million. Nonetheless, during that period, Copa would have reported a net loss of $16.2 million. Still, an unrealized mark-to-market gain related to Copa’s convertible notes and a passenger revenue adjustment allowed the airline to remain on the black.
Copa Airlines’ operating margin was 13.3% during the third quarter, said José Montero, Chief Financial Officer. The carrier had a capacity of 4.4 billion available seat miles, which amounts to 69% of the capacity operated in 2019. On average, Copa’s load factor was 79% for the quarter, an increase compared to the 49% in the previous months.
The airline carried 1.8 million passengers during the quarter, a 32.6% decrease compared to its pre-pandemic levels. This number was also a 55.1% increase compared to the second quarter. For the final quarter, Copa expects capacity to be approximately at 83% of 2019 levels.
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