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Dec 8, 2015

Panama’s Flagship Airline Makes Inaugural Flight to Belize

The arrival of COPA Airlines’ maiden voyage to Belize at midday heralded the beginning of air traffic to and from Belize and Panama City.  It has been a little over four months in the making and today Panama’s flagship carrier, Compania Panamena de Aviacion, COPA, landed at the PGIA to much fanfare.  The non-stop airlift between both destinations will accommodate up to ninety-four passengers without the need for processing by customs and immigration authorities.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano has that story.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The inaugural journey of COPA Airlines Flight 281 to Belize arrived at the Phillip Goldson International Airport shortly before one o’clock this afternoon.  The maiden voyage to the Jewel departed from Tucuman Airport in Panama City earlier today and upon landing at the P.G.I.A., was greeted with the ritual water salute by a pair of fire trucks.  The alighting of several passengers from that aircraft officially commences a free flow of travelers between both countries.

 

Jorge Espat

Jorge Espat, Managing Director, Belize Airport Concession Company

“Today is a great day for us.  It is indeed a big deal for Belize to welcome yet another airline carrier.  We are thrilled that Panama’s flag carrier, Compania Panamena de Aviacion, better known as COPA Airlines, is launching direct service from Tucuman International Airport in Panama City.  COPA Airlines is one of the fastest growing and largest companies in Panama and the recipient of some of the most prestigious World Travel and Airline Awards in the aviation industry.”

 

According to COPA’s Director of Sales, Adolfo Sen, the launch of the new direct flight will also boost economic opportunities for Belize through connectivity to the vast system of travel via Panama City.

 

Adolfo Sen

Adolfo Sen, Director of Sales, COPA Airlines

“As of today, Belize will be better connected to the continent thanks to the extensive route network we offer to the Hub of the Americas in Panama City where passengers can make connections to seventy-four destinations in thirty-one countries.  North, Central, South America and the Caribbean.  COPA believes it is important to support economic development to improve and increase capacity, therefore we are very optimistic that the flight we are inaugurating today will translate into more opportunities for progress and growth for Belize and that will increase tourism and enhance conditions for the emergence of business opportunities.  This new flight will also represent and important advance in the opening of trade and logistic opportunities for Belize with the rest of Latin America.”

 

Where it concerns tourism, Minister Manuel Heredia Junior spoke of the need for Belize to expand south to include all Latin American countries as destinations for Belizean visitors, vice versa.

 

Manuel Heredia

Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism

“While our strongest market remains to the north of us, in which we continue to experience highly competitive overnight arrivals, as a part of the long term strategy towards diversification we see the need to expand our reach southward and beyond.  As a result, both COPA and Belize have partnered and have committed to invest the time and resources that can serve as a catalyst to expand the five percent share that South America has in our tourism market, a market virtually untapped for Belize.  On our part, we have already begun an aggressive online and offline marketing campaign in Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina to name a few.  Equally exciting, of course, is the added connectivity and convenience that will now be at the disposal of our traveling Belizean populace and a much welcomed facilitator for trade and commerce.”

 

There are presently two weekly flights to and from Belize and Panama with additional schedules to be included should there be an increase in travel between both destinations. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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