The FINANCIAL -- the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) announced on May 28 that Copa Airlines will begin nonstop service between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Panama City, Panama this fall.
Copa Airlines officials said the airline plans to launch service at SFO on September 17, 2015, with flights operating seven days per week to the airline’s Hub of the Americas at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City. Copa offers connecting flights to more than 55 cities across Latin America through the airport, the largest and busiest in Central America.
“I am pleased to welcome Copa Airlines to San Francisco – the Innovation Capital of the World,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “San Francisco and Panama City are both significant gateways for commerce, each with a proud claim to one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World; the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Panama Canal. This new flight service from Copa strengthens our bond with Panama City, and Central America as a whole, in a significant new way.”
SFO Airport Director John L. Martin also expressed his excitement over the new flight. “This new service offers a world of possibilities to our customers, with connections to over 55 cities in Latin America. We appreciate Copa Airlines’ selection of SFO for its growth in the United States.”
Copa flight 209 will depart San Francisco daily at 11:19 p.m., arriving at Copa’s Hub of the Americas at Tocumen International Airport in Panama at 8:32 a.m. the following day. The return flight 208, will depart Panama at 9:41 a.m., arriving in San Francisco at 2:54 p.m. Copa will operate a Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft on the approximately 6-hour, 45-minute flight, with premium configuration and seating capacity for 16 passengers in Business Class and 138 in the main cabin. On-board service will include complimentary food and beverages, including wines and spirits; a personalized entertainment system with a wide variety of options in English, Spanish and Portuguese with new movies each month; complimentary headsets, and bilingual flight attendants, according to SFO.
"Copa’s new flight not only will greatly enhance business and leisure travel options between San Francisco and Panama, it also will increase connectivity with 55 destinations throughout Latin America,” said Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines. “Our flight has the potential to make a substantial contribution to tourism and general economic development between California, Panama and the rest of the Latin American region, as well as open up important markets in Asia.”
Copa Airlines operates flights from its Hub of the Americas to over 70 destinations in 30 countries around North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. A member of the Star Alliance partnership of airlines, Copa was recognized as the “Leading Airline in Mexico and Central America” in August 2014 World Travel Awards, colloquially known as the “Oscars of Tourism.” Copa has also earned multiple “Best Airline in Central America and the Caribbean” awards from SkyTrax, an independent international agency whose aviation benchmarking surveys are considered among the most reliable in the world. In 2014, Copa was named “Top On-Time Airline in Latin America” in FlightStats’ annual ranking of airline on-time performance.
Flights between SFO and Panama City will be operated using fuel-efficient Boeing 737-800 aircraft seating a total of 154 passengers, made up of 16 business class and 138 economy class seats.