Copa plans low cost Wingo flights for Panama

3,429Views 1Comments Posted 08/06/2019

The low-cost airline Wingo, based in Colombia,  and owned created by Copa Holdings is expanding into the  Panamanian market under the umbrella of a newly created Copa subsidiary.

The company has applied to the  Civil Aviation Authority (AAC) for permits to offer flights to 11 destinations, in five countries, from the Panama Pacifico International Airport,  the former Howard military base.

The flights will be operated under the Wingo brand, which will maintain its current operation in Colombia, where it offers flights to seven countries.

Copa requested AAC authorization to offer flights from Panama Pacifico to Havana, Cuba; Caracas Venezuela; Lima Peru; Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, Pereira, Barranquilla and Santa Marta, in Colombia.

The application also includes a connection to San Jose, Costa Rica.

The request was made to operate seven weekly frequencies, but company spokesmen said they will start with two or four flights per destination.

The public hearing, a requirement demanded by the AAC to grant operating permission for new flights,  scheduled for June 5, was moved to next week because the entity had to look for a larger room to for the many interested in listening to the airline's plans.

Copa's low-cost subsidiary will compete directly with Air Panama for the Colombian market. The calculation is that it is operational in the first quarter of 2020.

"The New Airline will operate towards international destinations, offering low prices, punctuality, and good vibes. Therefore, it will increase Panama's international air connectivity, particularly promoting tourism to the country. Additionally, tourists arriving in Panama Pacifico will have better access to the beaches and various tourist attractions located in western Panama," Copa said.

 The flights will be operated with  Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft.

Hoteliers and tourism operators welcomed the increase of low-cost flights from Panama under but they say indicate that the best thing is for new air groups with economic rates to arrive in the country, which would generate much better prices.

With the expansion, Copa takes the space left by Viva Colombia in May 2018, which left the Panamanian market under the argument that the increase in the exit tax applied by Tocumen SA . to flights in Panama Pacifico, affected passenger loads.

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