Copa Airlines of Panama this weekend took delivery of its first of 12 Boeing Next-Generation 737s, becoming the first 737-700 operator in Central America. The first airplane delivered - on lease from Tombo Aviation Services - also unveiled a new company image resulting from an alliance recently formed between Copa and Continental Airlines, creating one of the strongest alliances in Latin America.
"Copa is ready to enter the new millennium with the most modern airplane available in its class. We're on track to have one of the youngest and most modern fleets in the region," said Pedro Heilbron, executive president - Copa Airlines. "Our passengers will like the larger stowage bins for their carry-on items, as well as the new look and open feel of the cabin."
"We welcome Copa to the growing list of Next-Generation 737 customers," said John Feren, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group vice president - Americas Sales. "After only one year in service, the most modern jetliner family in its class is meeting or exceeding customer expectations while proving to be the most efficient. We're confident this new airplane will help reinforce Copa's position as a market leader while providing great comfort to its passengers for years to come."
Copa serves 24 destinations in 18 countries in the Americas. From its base in Tocumen International Airport, Copa operates one of the most efficient hubs in Latin America, transporting more than 900,000 passengers in 1998.
Earlier this year, Copa announced an order for eight Boeing Next-Generation 737-700s, as well as plans to lease an additional four 737-700s - two from Tombo Aviation Services and two from GE Capital Aviation Services.
The Next-Generation 737s - having entered service in 1998 - build on the strengths that have made the Boeing 737 the world's most successful airplane while incorporating improvements designed for the 21st century. The 737-700 model incorporates all the enhancements of the Next-Generation 737 family, including a redesigned cabin and a flight deck featuring the most versatile display system offered on any commercial jetliner.
With more than 4,260 total orders, the 737 is the best-selling commercial jetliner of all time. More than 800 Boeing 737s are in the air at any time, with one taking off every six seconds.