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Company Profile


Copa was established in 1947 by a group of Panamanian investors and Pan American World Airways, which provided technical and economic assistance as well as capital. Initially, Copa served three domestic destinations in Panama with a fleet of three Douglas C-47 aircraft. In the 1960s, Copa began its international service with three weekly flights to cities in Costa Rica, Jamaica and Colombia using a small fleet of Avro 748s and Electra 188s. In 1971, Pan American World Airways sold its stake in Copa to a group of Panamanian investors who retained control of the airline until 1986. During the 1980s, Copa suspended its domestic service to focus on international flights.

In 1986, CIASA purchased 99% of Copa, which was controlled by the group of Panamanian shareholders who currently control CIASA. From 1992 until 1998, Copa was a part of a commercial alliance with Grupo TACA's network of Central American airline carriers. In 1997, together with Grupo TACA, Copa entered into a strategic alliance with American Airlines. After a year our alliance with American Airlines was terminated by mutual consent.

On May 6, 1998, Copa Holdings, S.A., the holding company for Copa and related companies was incorporated as a sociedad anónima under the laws of Panama to facilitate the sale by CIASA of a 49% stake in Copa Holdings to Continental. In connection with Continental’s investment, we entered into an extensive alliance agreement with Continental providing for code-sharing, joint marketing, technical exchanges and other cooperative initiatives between the airlines. At the time of our initial public offering in December 2005, Continental reduced its ownership of our total capital stock from 49% to approximately 27.3%. In a follow-on offering in June 2006, Continental further reduced its ownership of our total capital stock from 27.3% to 10.0%. In May 2008, Continental sold its remaining shares in the public market.

Since 1998, we have grown and modernized our fleet while improving customer service and reliability. Copa has expanded its fleet from 13 aircraft to 98 aircraft at December 2014. In 1999, we received our first Boeing 737-700s, in 2003 we received our first Boeing 737-800s, and in 2005 we received our first Embraer 190. In the first quarter of 2005, we completed our fleet renovation program and discontinued use of our last Boeing 737-200s. During the second quarter of 2005, we purchased Copa Colombia, one of the largest domestic air carriers in Colombia in terms of number of passengers carried. Since 2005, we have expanded from 24 destinations in 18 countries to 69 destinations in 30 countries. We plan to continue our expansion, which includes increasing our fleet, over the next several years.


We are a leading Latin American provider of airline passenger and cargo service through our two principal operating subsidiaries, Copa Airlines and Copa Colombia. Copa Airlines operates from its strategically-located position in the Republic of Panama, and Copa Colombia provides service within Colombia and international flights from various cities in Colombia to Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala and Costa Rica. We currently operate a fleet of 98 aircraft, 72 Boeing 737-Next Generation aircraft and 26 Embraer 190 aircraft. To meet its growing capacity requirements, Copa has firm orders, including purchase and lease commitments, to accept delivery of 21 Boeing 737-Next Generation aircraft through 2019 and purchase rights and options that, if exercised, allow us to accept delivery of up to eight Boeing 737-Next Generation aircraft through 2019. We have also announced an order of 61 additional Boeing 737-MAX 8 and 9 aircraft to be delivered between 2018 and 2024.

Copa currently offers approximately 355 daily scheduled flights among 69 destinations in 30 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean from its Panama City hub. Copa provides passengers with access to flights to more than 170 other destinations through codeshare arrangements with UAL and other airlines pursuant to which each airline places its name and flight designation code on the other’s flights. Through its Panama City hub, Copa is able to consolidate passenger traffic from multiple points to serve each destination effectively.

Copa began its strategic alliance with Continental in 1998. Since then, it has conducted joint marketing and codesharing arrangements. On October 1, 2010, Continental merged with United Airlines. The combined carrier took the United Airlines name but uses the former Continental’s livery and logo. All of the service and alliance agreements we had in place with Continental have been transferred to the combined UAL entity. We believe that Copa’s co-branding and joint marketing activities, which continue with UAL, have enhanced its brand in Latin America, and that the relationship with UAL has afforded it cost-related benefits, such as improved purchasing power in negotiations with aircraft vendors and insurers. Copa’s alliance and related services agreements with UAL are in effect until May 2016. Due to the long-standing alliance relationship with Continental, and in order to ensure Copa remained fully aligned with Continental on a number of important joint initiatives, Copa officially joined Star Alliance on June 21, 2012, which Continental had joined at the end of 2009.

Since January 2001, we have grown significantly and have established a track record of consistent profitability. Our total operating revenues have increased from $0.3 billion in 2001 to $2.7 billion in 2014 while our operating margins have also increased from 8.6% to 19.3% over the same period.



We believe our primary business strengths that have allowed us to compete successfully in the airline industry include the following:


Our goal is to continue to grow profitably and enhance our position as a leader in Latin American aviation by providing a combination of superior customer service, convenient schedules and competitive fares, while maintaining competitive costs. The key elements of our business strategy include the following: