Above: a Boeing 737 MAX
By the Caribbean Journal staff
One of the Caribbean Basin’s leading carriers is getting bigger.
Panama-based Copa Airlines recently agreed with Boeing on the purchase of 61 new 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft.
The deal, valued at $6.6 billion, represents the largest-ever financial transaction between a Panamanian company and US company.
The ceremony took place during last week’s CEO Summit in the context of the Summit of the Americas.
“Boeing’s 737 Next Generation airplanes are the backbone of our current fleet,” said Copa CEO Pedro Heilbron. “Our order for the 737 MAX airplanes is reflective of our ongoing commitment to the future—a commitment to connect people throughout North, South, and Central America, using the most modern, most efficient airplanes in the sky, via the Hub of the Americas in Panama City.”
The company said it would use the aircraft to replace its oldest planes, and to support its plans “for continuous growth.”
Above: a business cabin on a new 737 MAX
The company will be the first in the region to fly the 737 MAX 9 on routes to and from South America.
Copa is the leading gateway carrier for South America to the Caribbean.
“Copa has a history of leading the way for Latin America’s aviation industry, and this order shows their dedication to continuous improvement in performance, customer satisfaction, and efficiency,” said Boeing Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney.
The new planes reportedly see a 14 percent improvement in fuel use over today’s single-aisle airplanes, and 20 percent better than the original Next-Generation 737s when they entered service, Copa said.
The 737 MAX includes new Boeing Sky interior.
Copa flies to 73 destinations in 30 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Copa’s traditional Caribbean destinations include Cancun, Guyana, Havana, Kingston, Montego Bay, Aruba, St Maarten, Trinidad, Haiti, Punta Cana, Nassau, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo and Curacao.