For the fourth time in 2020, Copa Airways postponed the relaunch of its business operations because of the present coronavirus pandemic. Now the provider will begin flying commercially once more on September 5, after the Panamanian authorities pushed again the opening of its airspace till August 22. What does this imply for the Central American provider? Let’s examine additional.
Copa delayed for the fourth time the relaunching of its business operations. Photograph: Getty ImagesHow does Copa do it?
Copa Airways has not flown commercially for the final 4 months. The Panamanian provider must be probably the most affected airline in Latin America because of the present coronavirus pandemic as a result of its route map is completely worldwide. It solely has one home route. Nevertheless it appears to be doing simply wonderful.
Nearly each nation in Latin America has closed its airspace to a point. Some are already opening, like Ecuador and Peru, however others stay utterly closed like Colombia, Argentina, and Panama.
The Panamanian authorities suspended each business operation on March 22. Then, 4 instances in a row, the federal government has prolonged the suspension for yet another month, because of the enhance of circumstances within the area.
However in contrast to its South American friends, Copa Airways has not proven any monetary bother. The Panamanian provider has a robust monetary place. In the beginning of the pandemic, it stated that it may survive with out flying for a very long time. That doesn’t imply that it’s proof against what’s taking place.
Copa is planning to retire its fleet of 14 Boeing 737-700 NG planes early. Sooner or later, it would withdraw its 15 Embraer E190 airplanes as it can concentrate on having an all Boeing-based fleet. Moreover, the provider additionally raised liquidity with a $350 million bond providing and refused State support.
Copa Airways has been grounded for 4 months. Photograph: Getty ImagesIs Copa actually flying in September?
At this level, we are able to’t belief that Copa Airways goes to fly from September onwards. It’s not the provider’s fault, neither is it the federal government’s fault. The coronavirus pandemic continues to be ravaging in Latin America.
As of July 24, Panama has over 56 thousand coronavirus circumstances. However, as we’ve stated, Copa Airways doesn’t depend on home site visitors. The Tocumen Worldwide Airport in Panama Metropolis serves as a connection hub. Many individuals fly to Tocumen to then take one other flight into smaller cities throughout Latin America.
Which means Copa is sure to the extent of the coronavirus pandemic in different international locations within the area. And the numbers should not fairly. For instance, Brazil has over 2.three million circumstances and its second worldwide solely after the US (one other key vacation spot for Copa). Peru and Mexico have 370 thousand circumstances every. Chile has over 338 thousand circumstances, and Colombia has over 226 thousand.
There’s no signal that the governments within the area are flattening the curve. With that in thoughts, we anticipate Panama to increase its ban on business operations. Which means Copa Airways may proceed working cargo and humanitarian flights solely.
The Panamanian provider serves up smaller markets throughout Latin America. Photograph: Getty Photographs.Who’s harm probably the most by this choice?
Latin America is a area that depends intensely on the air transport business. Not like Europe and North America, it’s onerous to maneuver by automotive and prepare is sort of non-existent. The distances between any given metropolis are longer than the common in Europe.
With that in thoughts, Copa Airways serves a specific flying public within the area. As Rafael Echevarne, CEO of the Airport Council Worldwide for Latin America and the Caribbean (ACI-LAC), stated to Easy Flying, the smaller cities endure probably the most from the present grounding of Copa Airways.
He considered cities like Manaos in Brazil, or Bucaramanga in Colombia that may be linked domestically with carriers like GOL or Avianca, however, at a world stage, they depend upon the connectivity of Copa Airways. They’ve probably the most to lose, particularly if the airline reduces its fleet and its route map after the pandemic.
As we’ve acknowledged earlier than, Copa serves as a connecting airline. It makes use of Panama Metropolis as a hub for the remainder of America, and it’s delightfully good at this. Now, by being grounded and never figuring out exactly when it can fly once more, it additionally retains a lot of America on the bottom.
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