DALLAS – Miami International Airport (MIA) celebrated COPA Airlines (CM) on September 14 with a ceremony welcoming a Boeing 737-800 NG in a retro livery commemorating the airline’s 75 years of service.
CM began MIA operations in 1989 and currently operates six daily flights connecting the Magic City to Tocumen International Airport (PTY) in Panama City, according to an airport press release.
Ralph Cutié, Director and CEO of MIA, congratulated the airline on a “major milestone in their illustrious history.” Director Cutié added that CM enables the airport, which celebrated 94 years of operations on September 15, to “proudly serve more than 800,000 passengers to and from Panama annually, which makes it our 10th-busiest international market.”
CM Senior Marketing Director Marco Ocando told Airways that MIA as a “relevant market for Copa Airlines” accounted for a “significant contribution to the airline’s growth over the years” while still serving as “Copa’s largest base of operations in North America.”
Ocando said CM “connects more than 75 cities in 32 countries in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean” via “the Hub of the Americas” at PTY, acting as a “bridge that connects South Florida to Latin America.”
Thirty-Three Years of Connection
“Nearly 33 years after becoming Copa’s first U.S. destination, we are proud to now celebrate their 75th anniversary and to welcome their commemorative anniversary aircraft,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “Copa has been an important partner in our community since 1989, and we wish them continued success in the decades to come.”
Ocando described the airline as committed to keeping “the local community connected with their friends, families, and businesses throughout the Americas,” according to the airport press release.
The commemorative Boeing 737-800 NG (HP-1841) involved over 30 employees in a painting process that lasted over two weeks. CM CEO Pedro Heilbron described the aircraft as representative of “much commitment and achievement” by the airline’s employees.
While commemorative, the livery additionally points to future growth for the airline, with Ocando telling Airways that CM will soon “increase daily flights to a total of 45 weekly flights from Miami to Panama and beyond, reaching 80 weekly flights overall in Florida.”
The 33-year relationship between MIA and CM represents a beacon of continuity and commitment to Latin America, a region facing both regulatory hurdles and high gas prices amid the war in Ukraine and the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Featured Image: A Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 NG registered as HP-1841 arrives at MIA in the commemorative 75th-anniversary livery with a water cannon salute. Photo: Copa Airlines