Copa Airlines will offer the first non-stop scheduled flight from Boston Logan International Airport to Latin America when the Star Alliance member begins daily service from Boston to Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport on July 10.
Boston is the largest U.S. market without non-stop service to Latin America, according to Massport, which owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport.
Massport estimates that more than $181 million in ticket sales were generated in 2011 by passengers traveling between Boston and the Latin American cities served by Copa. At its “Hub of the Americas” at Tocumen International Airport, Copa Airlines, a subsidiary of Copa Holdings, S.A., will offer connections between Boston and 57 other cities in Latin America.
“Non-stop service to Latin America will open up new opportunities to allow Massachusetts businesses to compete in the 21st century global marketplace,” said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. “The service will increase tourism here at home and connect our residents with friends and family in Latin America.”
Copa’s approximately 5 1/2-hour flight CM719 will depart Boston Logan International Airport (IATA code BOS) daily at 9:54 a.m., arriving at Tocumen International Airport (PTY) at 2:28 p.m. local time.
The return flight, CM718, will leave PTY daily at 11:46 a.m., landing at BOS at 6:16 p.m. local time.
Copa Airlines will operate Boeing 737-700 aircraft on the route, each seating 12 passengers in Business Class and 112 in the main cabin.
Onboard service includes complimentary meals and beverages, including wines and spirits; a 12-channel audio-visual in-flight entertainment system in English, Spanish and Portuguese, with new movies monthly and complimentary headsets. Flight attendants are bilingual.
“Copa’s new flight will offer not only the fastest and most direct way to fly from Boston to Panama; it also will provide Boston-area business and leisure travelers the most convenient connections to many other destinations in Latin America, including Brazil; Colombia; San José, Costa Rica; Lima, Peru; and Santiago, Chile,’’ said Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines.
The new service falls under Massport’s International Air Service Incentive Program, which applies to new non-stop international service to destinations in Asia, Central America, South America, Africa, and the Middle East.
Massport’s incentive program includes landing fee credits and joint advertising opportunities. Massport says its program is not designed to subsidize a service that is not likely to be self-sufficient, but to help minimize the initial business risk of the air carrier.
In providing Copa with a financial incentive for the service, Massport also expects to improve the utilization of Boston Logan’s international Terminal E, as Asia, Latin America and Middle East flights would operate during current off-peak hours. Massport is undertaking the program to compete with other airports around the U.S., most of which offer some type of financial incentive to attract new international air service.
“Copa offers seamless connections to more than 30 destinations from its hub in Panama City and in 2011 more than 400,000 passengers traveled between Boston and the Latin American cities served by Copa,’’ noted Thomas Glynn, Massport’s CEO and executive director.
According to Copa, its “Hub of the Americas’’ offers flights to more international destinations than any other airline from any other hub in the Latin American region. Passengers can connect to destinations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean without customs/immigration waits for in-transit passengers.
“In each of the last five years Copa has grown by an average of 16 per cent in available passenger seat miles and 12 per cent in daily flights to/from Panama,” said Heilbron.
Panama City will become Logan’s 33rd international destination and Boston will be the 65th destination served by Copa.
The airline currently flies non-stop from Panama to seven other U.S. destinations: Miami, New York JFK, Los Angeles, Washington Dulles, Orlando, Chicago O’Hare and Las Vegas.