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Region: big birds

Monday, July 23, 2012

Big is the name of the game, in terms of the competition among airlines in Central America.

For its part, Panama´s Copa Airlines earlier this month made three major announcements.

First was its plan to invest $1.4 billion, mostly for 44 next-generation Boeing 737 aircraft, to be delivered over the next five years, as well as a training center for pilots and cabin crew.

Second, Copa won the Leading Regional Airline award of Airline Business magazine.

In addition, Copa joined the Star Alliance, along with one of its major competitors, Avianca Taca, which for its part said last week that as of next year, it will decide on its new image.

Options include continuing with the combined name, using only the name of Taca, the largest carrier in Central America, or using only Avianca, the name of the Bogota-based airline, which two years ago acquired a majority interest in the regional operator.

In related news, Chile’s LAN last month acquired TAM, Brazil’s biggest carrier, to form LATAM, the biggest carrier by far in Latin America, and one which could be interested in adding Central American routes.

LAN has for several years been interested in the possibility of adding passenger services in the region, according to airline sources.