The FINANCIAL — Copa Airlines subsidiary of Copa Holdings, S.A., and member of the Star Alliance global airline network, announced today it will begin operating two weekly flights between Belize City and Panama City, Panama, on Dec. 8, 2015. With the addition of Belize, Copa Airlines’ route network will total 75 cities in 31 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, including every Central American country.
“Copa Airlines is very pleased to announce this new destination, which strengthens our route network and leadership in the region, and allows us to offer better connectivity and world-class service to all of Central America through the Hub of the Americas in Panama,” said Pedro Heilbron, CEO, Copa Airlines.
Belize offers a wide variety of tourist attractions. Located on the Caribbean Sea, the country is known for the diversity of its islands and cays, with crystalline waters and white sand beaches. Belize is considered a scuba divers’ paradise because of its impressive underwater sites, including the famous Great Blue Hole, whose waters reach a depth of up to 145 meters, and the largest coral reef barrier in the Western Hemisphere, according to Copa Airlines.
This Central American country is noted for its Mayan influence, the verdant Cayo District in the western part of the country, important archaeological sites such as the Xunantuhich ruins, and the twin cities of Santa Elena and San Ignacio. Other tourist attractions include St. John’s Cathedral, the Government House (House of Culture), the Yarborough Cemetery, the Swing Bridge and the Marine Terminal.
“Copa’s flight through the Hub of the Americas will provide Belize with efficient connections to Central and South America and the Caribbean, areas with which it shares strong commercial, educational, religious, diplomatic and tourist ties,” Heilbron added. “This connectivity will create enormous opportunities for tourism and commercial development for this interesting Caribbean country, while making it easier for the region’s tourists to enjoy all that Belize has to offer.”
The twice-weekly Copa flight CM 281 will depart Belize City on Tuesdays and Fridays, at 2:17 p.m., arriving at the Hub of the Americas at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City at 5:34 p.m. Flight CM 280 will depart Panama Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:29 a.m., arriving in Belize at 12:52 p.m. All times are local; flight duration is approximately 2 hours, 20 minutes.
“I must reiterate how important this partnership is, as COPA will not only supply significant potential markets for Belize, but also offer excellent and competitive linkages to the Caribbean, Central and especially to the South American market. Currently, the latter represents less than 5% of overnight tourist arrivals to Belize, with the biggest barrier being limited accessibility. As a result, and in keeping with our initiation of strategic and targeted marketing efforts in South America, this partnership could not come at a more opportune time”. Hon. Minister Manuel Heredia
Copa Airlines will operate the direct flight to Belize using a modern Embraer 190, with seating for 94 passengers — 10 in business class and 84 in the main cabin. The aircraft is configured with two seats on each side of the aisle and no middle seat, adding to passengers’ comfort.
From the Hub of the Americas in Panama, Copa Airlines offers flights to more international destinations than any other airline from any other hub on the continent. The Belize – Panama flight is timed to offer the most convenient connections to Sao Paulo, Brazil; San Jose, Costa Rica; Bogota, Cartagena and Medellin, Colombia; Santiago, Chile; Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador; Managua, Nicaragua; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Havana, Cuba; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and Lima, Peru. Connecting passengers are not required to make immigration or customs stops in Panama and baggage is checked to the final destination.