Copa Airline"™ decision to expand its Tampa-to-Panama City service to seven days a week is about more than just those two destinations.
Instead, for the airline, bringing daily service to Tampa starting next month is part of an effort to knit together a growing network that will have 79 destinations in 32 countries by year"™s end.
«As we added new destinations, we had the need of getting the Tampa Bay community closer to Latin America,» said Fernando Fondevila, Copa"™s regional manager for North American commercial operations, who was in Tampa on Thursday for business meetings. «Connecting through Panama, Copa offers more international destinations than any other airline in the region.»
Copa caters to business travelers. It touts that its on-time performance has been the best in the Americas five years running and fourth best worldwide. Its on-board service doesn"™t charge for food, headsets or entertainment. And its membership in the Star Alliance allows travelers to earn and redeem frequent flier miles on 28 different airlines.
That said, its jets to and from Tampa tend to carry about 60 percent leisure travelers and 40 percent corporate.
«When it comes to corporate, they want flexibility, they want more options, they want more destinations, and we are confident that adding a daily service would actually attract more corporate on board,» Fondevila said…