COPA Airlines History
COPA Airlines, officially known as Compañía Panameña de Aviación, is the national flag carrier of Panama. Founded in 1947, the airline has a rich history that spans over seven decades. Throughout its existence, COPA Airlines has played a crucial role in connecting Panama with the rest of the world and has become one of the leading airlines in Latin America.
The story of COPA Airlines began on June 21, 1944, when a group of Panamanian investors and Pan American World Airways established the airline as a domestic carrier under the name Compañía Panameña de Aviación. Initially, the airline operated a small fleet of three Douglas C-47 aircraft, providing domestic flights within Panama.
Over the years, COPA Airlines expanded its operations and started offering international flights. In 1966, the airline introduced its first international route, connecting Panama City with San Jose, Costa Rica. This marked the beginning of COPA Airlines' transformation into a major international carrier.
In the 1980s, COPA Airlines underwent significant changes that propelled its growth. The airline modernized its fleet by acquiring Boeing 737 aircraft, which allowed for longer flights and increased passenger capacity. With a focus on expanding its network, COPA Airlines added new destinations in the Americas and the Caribbean, establishing itself as a key player in the region.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, COPA Airlines continued to strengthen its position in the aviation industry. The airline implemented advanced technologies and improved its services, earning a reputation for its reliability and efficiency. COPA Airlines also formed strategic alliances with other major airlines, such as Continental Airlines (now United Airlines), which further enhanced its global reach.
Today, COPA Airlines operates a modern fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft and serves more than 80 destinations in 33 countries. The airline's hub, Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, has become a major connecting point for travelers flying between North, Central, and South America. COPA Airlines has received numerous awards and accolades for its exceptional customer service and operational excellence.
For more information about this airline, check out our comprehensive COPA Airlines Guide.