Mauro Arredondo, General Manager of Copa Airlines Mexico, spoke with Mexico Aviation & Aerospace Review on the company’s strategy for the country.
Q: What is the most important contribution Copa Airlines has made to the aviation industry in Mexico?
A: Connecting Mexico with the rest of Latin America is widely valued in the air travel market. We fly to every capital city in Latin America except Bolivia, where we fly to Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Connecting to Panama is also valued because of the country’s strategical position in the middle of the continent. Copa Airlines’ vision is to connect people from North America to South America and vice versa through Panama. Mexican clients prize Copa Airlines’ business proposal in this sense.
Q: What impact does Mexico have on Copa Airlines’ revenues?
A: Mexico is the second most-important economy in Latin America, so the country is a key market for Copa Airlines. Our presence in Mexico is not limited to Mexico City; we also offer direct flights to and from Guadalajara, Monterrey and Cancun. Having destinations in these four cities enables Copa Airlines to cater to the needs of both Mexican business and pleasure travelers who can travel straight from Monterrey or Guadalajara to Panama.
Q: How has the Mexican market evolved throughout 2016 and 2017?
A: Demand for air travel is directly linked to economic success. As GDP grows, so does demand, which favors the whole industry. We have noticed that entry constraints have relaxed and passenger exchanges between Mexico and Peru and Mexico and Colombia are on the rise. But the existing connectivity in itself boosts the demand for air travel.
Q: How is Copa Airlines growing its presence in the Mexican market?
A: Copa Airlines has enjoyed significant growth in Latin America and we have a long-term strategic plan to continue boosting capacity. In 2015, Copa Airlines placed an order for 61 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9s and in 2017 we placed another order for 15 MAX 10 airplanes. This year has seen Copa Airlines consolidate in Mexico because the country absorbed some of Copa Airlines’ previous growth. We grew from four to five frequencies to Mexico City and now operate six daily frequencies to Cancun. Internationally, Copa Airlines announced two new destinations that will be inaugurated before the end of 2017: Mendoza-Panama in November and Denver-Panama in December. We adapt to our clients’ needs and constantly receive input on passenger experience while addressing market trends to implement appropriate strategies.
Q: What are Copa Airlines’ strategies to become more attractive to Mexican customers?
A: We understand that one of the main differentiators in the airline business is service quality. Copa Airlines adds value to a passenger’s investment in a ticket through good service so passengers understand the return they receive for their investment. For instance, Copa Airlines has been recognized for the fourth consecutive year as Latin America’s most punctual airline by FlightStats and by OAG as the second-most punctual airline worldwide. In terms of travel experience, our passengers that have connections in Panama can do so in an hour at the Hub of the Americas airport because they do not need to go through migration or customs processes and their luggage is documented from the point of departure to the destination point.
Q: What is Copa Airlines providing in terms of passenger service?
A: Our onboard service has been recognized by SKYTRAX as the best in Central America and the Caribbean. We offer complete onboard services, including courtesy meals and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. In 2015, Copa Airlines launched its ConnectMiles frequent flyer program. These miles can be accumulated and redeemed with any Star Alliance member airline. We have code-share agreements that enable members of Star Alliance to provide a seamless travel experience. Being able to organize a trip with a single itinerary, use a single ticket and check-in luggage from the point of origin to the destination are key advantages that passengers enjoy when flying with airline members of Star Alliance.
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