Copa Airlines announced today that as of June 2011 it will increase daily flight frequencies to several countries in its extensive route network, offer more convenient schedules and begin service to three new destinations: Toronto, Canada; Porto Alegre, Brazil; and Nassau, Bahamas.
The announcement was presaged yesterday in Nassau, during a press conference held at the British Colonial Hilton. David Johnson, Director General of the Ministry of Tourism said at that time that Copa Airlines will begin nonstop air service from Panama to Nassau, commencing on June 15, 2011. He described it as a move in a positive direction; the first time in history that The Bahamas will be able to offer this type of service to visitors from Latin America – a growing and lucrative region. “For many decades now, we have known that the desire to travel to our country from South and Central America is quite high and still rising,” he said.
Copa Airlines will provide both departing and return flights every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from Panama to Nassau. The airline will utilize the Embaer 190 jet aircraft, which has the capacity to carry 94 passengers. The new flights will depart from Panama at 9:18 a.m. and arrive in Nassau at 1:03 p.m. Return flights will depart from Nassau at 3:25 p.m. and arrive in Panama City at 5:02 p.m. The new service will offer both Business and Economy classes.
Tourism officials are projecting that this new service will bring some 14,500 new visitors to The Bahamas in the first year and generate some 37,000-room nights that will boost hotel revenues by over $7 million in its first year. The potential spend in the economy is estimated at just over $17 million. According to Mr. Johnson, the addition of Copa Airlines and their extensive network is also a positive beginning for the new and expanded Lynden Pindling International Airport whose main objective is to establish Nassau as a major hub for the Caribbean with access points to the Americas.
In operation for more than six decades, the Panamanian airline will offer a total of 180 daily flights from the Hub of the Americas at Tocumen International Airport to 55 destinations in 27 countries in North, Central, and South America/Caribbean. The airline will continue to strengthen Panama City as a business center and tourist destination and to improve Panama's connectivity with the rest of the world.
In Panama today, Pedro Heilbron, CEO, said "Thanks to these new destinations and the increase in frequencies from our Hub of the Americas in Panama City, Copa Airlines continues to expand its coverage and reaffirm its leadership in Latin America and the Caribbean. Copa offers flights to more international destinations than any other airline from any other hub in the Region."
In 2010 Copa Airlines - subsidiary of Copa Holdings, S.A. - transported more than 5.2 million passengers via the region's most complete route network through the Hub of the Americas. "The Hub continues to be the most efficient and convenient connection point on the continent," Heilbron added. "The increase in flight frequencies will allow us to significantly improve our daily arrival and departure schedules to offer better connectivity, more flight options and more frequent connections throughout the day. In fact some destination will now have up to six daily frequencies."