Five of the newly contracted 737-800s are due for delivery in 2011 and five during 2012. Copa Airlines now has firm orders and delivery...

Panama’s Copa Airlines has signed lease agreements for 10 new Boeing 737-800s with three aircraft-leasing companies, GE Capital Aviation Services, BOC Aviation and Aviation Capital Group.

Five of the newly contracted 737-800s are due for delivery in 2011 and five during 2012.  Including the 737s contracted under the new leases, Copa Airlines now has firm orders and delivery commitments for 33 aircraft, all of them 737-800s.

The lease agreements call for Copa Airlines to lease five 737-800s from GE Capital Aviation Services, three from BOC Aviation and two from Aviation Capital Group.

Panama's Copa Airlines is growing rapidly and has placed several repeat orders for, or taken lease contracts on, Boeing 737NGs. Copa Holdings' two airlines, Copa Airlines and Copa Airlines Colombia (formerly Aero Republica) now have nearly 70 737NGs in service or on order and also operate a sizable fleet of Embraer 190s

“With these new leases we will bolster our 2011 and 2012 network expansion plans, taking the opportunity to strengthen even more our regional hub leadership,” says Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines. “This capacity ramp up coincides with the expected conclusion of Panama’s Tocumen airport expansion, which will increase our airport capacity by more than 50 per cent by mid-2011.”

Each of the 10 new 737-800s will be outfitted with Boeing’s new Sky Interior featuring new 787-style modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals that provide passengers with a greater connection to the flying experience.  They will also benefit from performance enhancements expected to result in a 2 percent reduction in fuel consumption through a combination of airframe and engine improvements.

Last week Star Alliance, the world’s biggest airline alliance, announced that its board of members had accepted Copa Airlines’ application for membership and that the carrier and its sister airline Copa Airlines Colombia (formerly Aero Republica) would join Star in 2011. At the same time Star revealed its board had also accepted the application of another major Latin American airline group, Avianca-TACA.

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