Copa Airlines Resumes US Flights With South American Connections

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Copa Airlines has resumed some flights to the United States this week. After a few months of suspended operations, the Panamanian airline is selling mostly connections for passengers looking to go from the US to countries in Latin America and vice versa.

Copa Airlines Getty
Copa Airlines has resumed some US flights. Photo: Getty Images.

Copa resumes US flights

Miami and New York are the first two destinations that Copa Airlines has resumed flights to. The airline is offering a variety of connections. Destinations to or from Miami include San Jose in Costa Rica, Quito, and Guayaquil in Ecuador, Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, and Santiago in Chile.

Copa Airlines has resumed limited flights after over four months of suspended operations. The flag carrier of Panama had previously continued to delay the resumption of its commercial operations. Now, in August, the airline has begun what will be a gradual restart of its services.

Copa Airlines Getty
Copa Airlines is slowly rebuilding its operations. Photo: Getty Images

When is Copa flying?

Copa is not offering the daily commercial flights that it flew pre-crisis to the US. As of now, there are only selected departure dates. The next set of flights departing Miami is scheduled for August 21st, 22nd, 28th, and 29th. Further flights will come as Copa is able to expand its operation.

New York-JFK is another market where Copa is resuming flights, largely to the same destinations in Latin America. The airline has scheduled further New York-departing flights on August 22nd and 29th.

Heavy on connections

Given the Government of Panama’s imposition of entry restrictions, Copa is relying mostly on connecting traffic to areas in South America that are allowing US citizens– though some of those places also have other quarantine or testing requirements before or after arrival.

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Earlier this month, Panama announced it would open up for transit passengers. For Copa, this was an excellent move forward since, with its hub in Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport (PTY), the carrier could start to fly passengers again and earn some revenue.

Copa Airlines Getty
Panama City is the airline’s largest hub. Photo: Getty Images.

Even before the current crisis, thanks to Copa’s hub model out of PTY, transit passengers remained a big part of the airline’s operations. Due to the airline’s status in the Star Alliance, the airline can tap into some of United Airlines‘ passengers for connections.

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Rebuilding a route network

There is still plenty of room to grow for Copa. Other destinations that Copa previously served were Boston, Chicago, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Tampa, and Washington D.C.

Copa Airlines jets at Tocumen International
At its peak, Copa flew to 13 destinations in the US. Photo: Getty Images

Getting to all of these destinations will take some time. The rebound in air traffic is coming slowly. Major destinations like Miami and New York make sense to reinstate services first. Secondary cities, such as New Orleans, will likely come later on in the process.

Beyond the US, Copa must continue to build up its Latin American flights. Border closures in key markets such as Colombia and Argentina remain an issue. Those closures are one reason why the airline’s route network remains relatively slim.

Are you planning on flying Copa this month? Let us know in the comments!

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