In the News from Panama

Copa Wins ‘Most Punctual’ Airline Honors

by Jeff Barton.

Fast-growing Copa Airlines has earned international recognition for its punctuality. The London-based Official Airline Guide, which tracks the industry, named Copa the most punctual airline in Latin America, the second most punctual in the Americas and the fourth most punctual in the world.

Copa achieved a punctuality index of 86.39 percent in 2017, according to OAG’s data. The only airlines to achieve a better rating were AirBaltic (90.01 percent), Hong Kong Airlines (88.83 percent) and Hawaiian Airlines (87.24 percent). Copa finished above Japan Airlines and Singapore Airlines, which have well-established reputations for top service.

In making its assessment, OAG considers cancellations, as well as arrivals and departures within 15 minutes of the scheduled time.

Copa considers punctuality as one of its “main factors of differentiation” in the competitive aviation industry, the airline said in a release. “The recognition confirms our priority and interest in meeting the needs of our passengers, who rely on us every day to arrive at their destinations on time,” said Pedro Heilbron, president of Copa Airlines.

Copa also took home top punctuality honors from FlightStats, an aviation data company, which ranked Copa as “the most punctual in Latin America” for the fifth straight year based on 2017 performance.

Copa’s record is impressive, considering the number of new flights the airline has added in recent years and what the airline referred to as “difficulties outside of the company’s control,” such as extreme weather.

The airline’s efficiency should improve when Tocumen International opens a new Norman Foster-designed terminal later this year. The $800 million facility will include state-of-the-art baggage handling systems as well as reduced walking distances between gates.

Jeff Barton is managing director of Punta Pacifica Realty, the top sales and property management company in the waterfront skyscraper community of Punta Pacifica.