Copa Airlines Colombia has successfully served primary and secondary markets in Colombia through what have been three challenging years. We have a quality product that is well regarded by the market to withstand a difficult economic environment. Our quality product awards are perhaps one of the highlights for Copa because of the product delivery consistency we have maintained for decades throughout our network. We received Skytrax recognition as the Best Airline of Central America and the Caribbean, Best Airline Personnel in Central America, and Best Regional Airline of Central America. As for punctuality, Copa Airlines was recognized as the most punctual airline in Latin America by Flightstats and the second-most punctual airline in the world by OAG. On top of this we have grown significantly. Over the last seven years Copa has increased its available seat miles in 50%, nearly doubling the number of aircraft in our fleet. Our corporate focus in serving primary and secondary markets in Latin America with a well-thought-out network with the best schedule choices and shortest connecting times has enabled us to do all this in an orderly fashion while maintaining the quality of our product. Copa Airlines serves key regions in each country we fly to, which differentiates us from other airlines. In Colombia, we connect eight cities in the country: Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Pereira, Bucaramanga, and San Andrés.
Sep. 6, 2017
Significant investment in Colombia's airports have been made in the last several years and with incomes and the number of airline passengers expected to increase in the future, there are many opportunities for airlines to grow.
President, Copa Airlines Colombia
Director General-Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, Lufthansa
We started in 1967 with the first flight to Bogotá, a multi-sector flight with several legs that included New York. Today, we operate a daily flight to Frankfurt with Airbus A340-300 in which we offer business, premium economy, and economy class. It connects not only Colombia to Germany, but also Colombia with the rest of the world through our main hub of Frankfurt. Through our operations in Bogotá, we offer our customers the entire Andean region. Our customers from Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia can reach the rest of the world through Bogotá. There will definitely be a positive impact on the aviation sector in the context of the post-conflict era. Significantly, Colombia has reached a visa-waiver agreement with the EU, allowing Colombians to travel to Europe for up to 90 days on tourist visas. Many Colombians also have family ties to Europe. This certainly brings Germany and Colombia closer together and has already shown itself in passenger numbers, which have posted positive growth. When bridges are built across countries rather than walls, the numbers grow. For Lufthansa Group, we have different kinds of customers. We transport Colombian businessmen and families traveling abroad on our flights, but we also have tourists and investors coming from the other side. We also have people coming to Colombia to start a business.
Major General Pedro Ignacio Lozano
Satena is a different, alternative airline; we are the only airline flying to the most remote parts of the country to bring development to these areas regardless of whether it is profitable. Satena was created in 1962 with the help of the government to reach remote areas, though the focus has now shifted to bringing these places as much development as possible. Satena started a new initiative with El Dorado Airport to increase plane parking spaces to reduce waiting time on runways by 25 minutes. This is one of the main initiatives we have to make Satena and the entire system more efficient. At present, 90% of Satena's destinations have huge potential to become eco-tourism hubs. However, it is not just about transporting people to these places; we are also in partnership with local institutions to develop their whole infrastructure and craft a larger, richer experience. Remote areas are important for the post-conflict era, especially for tourism, because few people have had the chance to visit them. The challenge that Satena has in bringing in more people to these remote areas and following their development will contribute to their economic growth. We already plan to expand our number of flights and destinations. The key word is security, and this was brought by the post-conflict peace deal, which helps to shore up confidence in Colombia as a safe place to visit.
Catalina M Bretón R
General Leader, Wingo
Copa felt there was an opportunity in Colombia to create a new airline, Wingo, firstly because Colombia is ranked third in Latin America, behind Mexico and Brazil, in terms of passenger traffic. Passenger numbers are also expected to grow further with Colombia's economic reforms and the peace treaty. Secondly, there has been an important shift in the low-, middle-, and high-income classes here. Around 50% of the Colombian population is predicted to be in the middle-income bracket by 2020. Again, this gives opportunities for more air travel. Third, we felt there was an important opportunity in the fact that Copa already had a subsidiary here with a permit to operate, which was a real asset. Colombia is a strategically located country with a large degree of internal and external air traffic. There are many important cities within Colombia compared to other Latin America countries that only have one major city. A low-cost carrier here is the perfect fit for a burgeoning middle class that desires to travel more as well as for a country that still has land transportation infrastructure problems due to its geography. Two out of every 10 Colombians travel abroad, which is a low rate. Copa's product mission was to encourage Colombians to travel more internationally, but it was not affordable. With Wingo, we want to make overseas travel affordable for Colombians and Latin Americans in general.
Executive Director, LATAM Airlines Colombia
Colombia is the second-largest market in South America and LATAM Airlines has a share of around 22% of this market. Colombia has strong growth potential. The impact of the peace process will definitely be positive, though it will not be felt right away. Colombia needs to accompany the peace process with continued investments in infrastructure, not only in airports, but also in related services and hospitality infrastructure. Some regions are a long way behind with this. International tourism will increase, but only at the rate of investment in the sector. We are pleased with the tourism corridors that are being developed by the government; these are the types of initiatives the government needs to put in place. Today, we see certain positive signs in terms of the tourism offering, though not yet the demand. It will happen, though. The right environment has to be set up to receive those new tourists before they start coming in. We believe local tourism will increase as well. The airline industry has to drive this by providing more efficient and economic air travel options. In other markets, the number of airline passengers increases exponentially compared to the rate of growth in the economy when prices are lower. Over the next three or four years, one challenge will be allowing the industry to provide lower prices to stimulate an increase in consumer demand.