Copa Airlines officially entered the second phase of its fleet renewal yesterday as its newest Boeing [NYSE: BA] 737-700 took off from Boeing Field bound for its "Hub of the Americas" home in Panama.
In addition to obvious technological advances, such as performance enhancing Blended Winglets, this latest addition to Copa's fleet features sophisticated flight deck instrumentation called Vertical Situation Display (VSD). Developed by Boeing, VSD is an advanced navigational aid that creates a visual plot of the airplanes' current and projected flight path in relation to ground terrain. Copa is the first airline in the Americas to incorporate advanced VSD technology.
The 737-700's eight-foot (2.4 meters) high Blended Winglets gently curve out and up from the wings adding five feet (1.5 meters) to the airplane's total wingspan. These Blended Winglets reduce aerodynamic drag, allowing the 737 to fly farther and quieter while burning up to 6 percent less fuel. Copa Airlines was the first operator in the Americas to use the Blended Winglets on its 737-700s.
Copa's fleet now consists of 13 Boeing Next-Generation 737s with three more scheduled for delivery this year. It operates out of its hub at Tocumen International Airport, in Panama City, which is positioned as a time-saving hub on long routes between North and South America and the Caribbean.