Copa's latest Boeing 737-800 order previously was attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing's orders and deliveries website.

Panama’s Copa Airlines has signed a firm order for 22 Boeing 737-800s at a signing ceremony at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

Copa’s latest Boeing 737-800 order previously was attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing’s orders and deliveries website. The deal also includes options on another 10 Boeing 737-800s.

“These 22 firm aircraft plus 10 options, which deliver between 2015 and 2018, are an integral part of our medium term growth plan,” says Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines. “This is the largest aircraft order in Copa’s history, which is a reflection not only of our confidence in the future of Latin America and Panama, but also of our successful business model, which has made our Hub of the America’s the best connecting point for intra-Latin America travel.”

By late-November 2010, Panama's Copa Airlines was operating 14 737-800s. The airline group also had at least 52 more 737-800s on order, including 10 to be leased from three leasing companies and 22 ordered from Boeing on November 30, 2010. The carrier and its sister Copa Airlines Colombia also operates 20 Boeing 737-700s and a number of Embraer 190s. Copa Airlines Colombia, the other airline subsidiary of Copa's parent Copa Holdings, also operates Embraer 190s and the two airlines' combined fleet of the type numbered 26 throughout 2010

Boeing values the 22 aircraft on firm order at approximately $1.7 billion at list prices. The 10 optioned aircraft at valued at an additional $900 million at list prices.

Copa Airlines already operates 18 737-700s and its sister carrier Copa Airlines Colombia operates two. The Panamanian carrier also has 14 737-800s already in service and (going by Boeing’s orders and deliveries database) has at least another 52 on order, including the 22 aircraft ordered directly from Boeing on November 30 and 10 to be taken on operating lease from three aircraft lessors in deals announced on November 18.

In addition, Copa Airlines and Copa Airlines Colombia between them are now operating 26 Embraer 190s.

“Copa’s exceptional business model, ideal geographic position and modern and efficient fleet will continue to drive its leadership in the Latin American aviation market,” says Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Today’s signing not only celebrates the strong relationship between Boeing and Copa Airlines, but also symbolizes the strong political and commercial ties between the United States and Panama.”

The new aircraft will be outfitted with the new 737 Boeing Sky Interior featuring new modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals that provide passengers with a greater connection to the flying experience. They also will benefit from performance improvements which Boeing expects will result in a 2 per cent reduction in fuel consumption through a combination of airframe and engine improvements.

Boeing says the performance improvements will start being incorporated in 737NGs delivered from mid-2011 onwards, with the improvement package completed for 737 deliveries from early 2012.

Operating out of its “Hub of the Americas” at Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport, Copa Airlines provides service to 46 destinations in 24 countries. Copa says it offers the most international flights and destinations within Latin America of any hub on the continent and expects to increase capacity by 17 to 19 per cent in 2011.

In the past two years, Copa has purchased 37 737-800s new from Boeing and entered into leasing agreements for an additional 10. According to Copa Holdings, by the end of the year Copa Airlines and Copa Airlines Colombia will have a total of 63 aircraft, 37 of which will be Boeing 737NGs (20 737-700s and 17 737-800s). The airline will take delivery of an additional 68 737NGs in the next seven years, including 22 that will be delivered in 2011 and 2012. Copa says it flies some of the longest 737 routes in the world.

Copa Airlines also says it was the first carrier in the Americas to incorporate Blended Winglets on its 737-700 fleet, as well as the first to incorporate Vertical Situation Display (VSD), an advanced flight deck situation-awareness display.

To find low fares, click here.