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Copa Airlines Colombia


Copa Airlines Colombia

Copa Airlines Colombia
Founded 23 November 1992 (as AeroRepública)
Commenced operations 6 October 2010
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program MileagePlus
Airport lounge Copa Club (in partnership with United)
Alliance Star Alliance (affiliate)
Fleet size 19
Destinations 20
Company slogan 'Conectado, todo es posible' (Spanish) 'Connected, everything is possible' (English)
Parent company Copa Holdings S.A.
Headquarters Bogotá, Colombia
Key people Eduardo Lombana (CEO)
Website Copa Airlines Colombia

AeroRepública S.A., operating as Copa Airlines Colombia,[1] is an airline based in Bogotá, Colombia. It is the third largest air carrier in Colombia.

It operates scheduled passenger services from Bogotá to 19 domestic and international destinations, as well as charter services to the United States and the Caribbean. Its main base is El Dorado International Airport, Bogotá, with a focus city at José María Córdova International Airport, Medellín.[2]


  • History 1
    • Foundation 1.1
    • Quality decline and updating (1993 - 2005) 1.2
    • Acquisition by Copa Airlines (2005 - 2010) 1.3
  • Destinations 2
  • Fleet 3
  • MileagePlus 4
  • Codeshare agreements 5
  • Incidents and accidents 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8



AeroRepública began operations with Boeing 727-100 aircraft, such as this example seen at Gustavo Rojas Pinilla International Airport (December 1994).

During the early years of the 1990s, Colombia was immersed in economic liberalization policy of President Cesar Gaviria, and although there were many problems and obstacles, under the leadership of Alfonso Avila Velandia who had worked in the airline industry before and Amos Ginor, discussions and negotiations began in 1992 to create Aero Republica, the first private airline to be created in Colombia in years. The initiative was echoed and achieved concrete the support of banks and business groups in Colombia and the United States.

The result of this process was the start of operations of AeroRepublica in June 1993 with Boeing 727-100 aircraft painted with the colors of the flag of Colombia (yellow, blue and red), initially flying from Bogotá to cities of the Colombian coast as Santa Marta, Cartagena and San Andres. Precisely in Santa Marta accelerated the market significantly, gaining honorable mention by the mayor of the city and the government of Magdalena.

The Boeing 727s were later joined by Douglas DC-9-30 airframes such as this example seen in December 1994.

AeroRepublica continued to expand, reaching new cities of country like Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla, Montería, and Leticia, among others. Just as in Santa Marta, Leticia, AeroRepublica arrival meant an important dynamic of the market which resulted in a drop in price very important at the time. Alongside all this, the airline changed its aging and obsolete fleet of 727-100 aircraft with second-handed McDonnell-Douglas DC-9-30 from Continental Airlines and Alitalia raided while flying in the international market to Havana and other places in charter form.

Quality decline and updating (1993 - 2005)

During the first decade of operations, AeroRepublica had a bad reputation in Colombia due to the constant mechanical problems of its fleet, punctuality and mismanagement of the board. As a consequence, the airline received the infamous nickname of "AeroRecocha", which was referring to these factors in common.

As a result of the constant bad publicity that was hurting the airline's confidence and quality, the board members of AeroRepublica began long-term strategies in order to revolutionize the carrier, in terms of business processes, fleet updating, and corporate image. These plans were shown with the acronym "Live the Change" on the advertisements. The airline began to acquire an extensive fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft, change their livery and reorganized its route map, leaving to fly to destinations such as Carthage.

These changes were noticed by the public and the nickname "AeroRecocha" was withdrawn in the early 2000s as a result. Today, AeroRepublica has no mechanical or punctuality issues that could affect its confidence.

Acquisition by Copa Airlines (2005 - 2010)

The past decade was considered as a great movement in the Colombian aviation, and Panama's flag carrier, Copa Airlines, was interested in entering to the Colombian domestic market and by making several negotiations, the airline acquired 90% percent of AeroRepublica's stake; despite been involved initially in the auction process made by Avianca, Colombia's flag carrier.

An Embraer 190 of Copa Airlines Colombia taking off from Tocumen International Airport (July 2012).

With this acquisition, Copa Airlines begun a new series of corporate image changes and an update in the fleet. The first step came when the former president of the airline's board, Alfonso Avila Velandia, resigned and was succeeded by Roberto Junguito. AeroRepublica adopted a livery and a corporate logo similar to Copa's and Continental's (now United), and started the gradual retirement of its MD-80 fleet by making an order for 15 modern Embraer E-190 aircraft and taking in 10 of the 18 older Boeing 737-700 from the Copa's fleet, a transition that is still in progress.

In early 2007, an AeroRepublica Embraer E-190 took off from Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport for a demonstration flight, although current regulations doesn't allow that type of aircraft to operate from the airport.

In addition to this there has been further consolidation in the domestic routes and began expanding internationally again, serving initially at Quito, Caracas and Panama City and other cities, but future projections to other cities including Miami and São Paulo. In August 2010, Aero Republica announced plans to start services to Mexico and Cuba.[3]

In October 2010, Copa Holdings changed the name from Aero Republica to Copa Airlines Colombia, making official the unification of the brand.[4]



Copa Airlines Colombia fleet consists of the following aircraft (at June 2010):[5]

Copa Airlines Colombia fleet modernization and expansion plan included an firm order for 8 additional Embraer 190 aircraft (3 signed from leasing company GECAS and 5 from manufacturer), as well as options for 20 additional aircraft.

On 18 October 2006, Copa Airlines Colombia announced that it had signed with GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS) a lease agreement for an E-190 aircraft to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2007.


MileagePlus is the Copa Airlines Colombia frequent flyer program through a partnership with United Airlines and Copa Airlines. Customers accumulate miles from flight segments made by Copa Airlines Colombia, Copa Airlines or other partners of the Star Alliance. The program elite tiers are Silver, Gold, and Platinum Elite. All of them have benefits such as mileage bonus and priority in terms of check-in, seats and boarding.

The airline terminated its OnePass program on March 2, 2012, as a result of the merger of Continental Airlines with United. On March 3, 2012, Copa Airlines Colombia begun to use United's Mileage Plus frequent flyer program.[6]

Codeshare agreements

Copa Airlines Colombia has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
(This list does include Star Alliance airlines)

1- The codeshare to Air Panama is an interline agreement.

Incidents and accidents

  • On 17 July 2007, AeroRepública flight 7330, an Embraer ERJ-190 aircraft, overshot the runway at Simón Bolívar International Airport in Santa Marta, went down an embankment, and ended up with the front end of the aircraft in the ocean. There were no fatalities. Due to the extensive damage, the plane was written-off.


  1. ^ "Terms and Conditions." Copa Airlines. Retrieved on January 31, 2011.
  2. ^ "Directory: World Airlines".  
  3. ^ "Aero Republica to launch Mexico and Cuba services". Retrieved 2010-08-16. Aero Republica 
  4. ^ "Aero Republica becomes Copa Airlines Colombia". 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  5. ^ "Aero República despidió su último avión MD" (in Spanish). 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Flight International July 2005

External links

  • Copa Airlines Colombia official website (Spanish) (English)
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