Travel & Tourism

March, 07, 2005 - 04:05 PM / ET

AeroRepublica and Copa Airlines Announce Strategic Alliance
Alliance Increases Benefits for Colombian and Other Regional Passengers, Provides Access to Larger Route Network

Panama City, Panama--(HISPANIC PR WIRE - BUSINESS WIRE)--March 7, 2005—AeroRepublica and Copa Airlines today announced a strategic alliance that includes Copa's acquisition of an equity stake in the Colombian airline.

AeroRepublica, the second-largest airline in Colombia, will continue to operate independently, maintaining its corporate identity and its current workforce, according to officials of each airline. A global trend in the aviation industry, alliances make possible increased passenger benefits while strengthening the participating airlines, the officials explain.

"AeroRepublica has an excellent work force and we believe we have an opportunity to strengthen the airline to make it a leading company in Colombian commercial aviation," said Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines. "We are very proud of this alliance and of AeroRepublica's achievements of the past few years. Copa Airlines will share its experience, technology and other necessary resources to make AeroRepublica a world-class company, for the benefit of Colombian and other regional travelers."

Alfonso Avila, President of AeroRepublica, said, "This alliance gives AeroRepublica access to new markets and the latest in commercial aviation technology, allowing us to offer increased -- and better -- service to our passengers. Copa Airlines is the ideal strategic partner to develop and consolidate our airline's operations."

Regional integration and globalization strengthens both airlines by taking advantage of complementary routes and markets where each has a major presence. The alliance, which reinforces AeroRepublica's position in Colombia, incorporates technical and commercial collaborative agreements for the benefit of the traveling public.

AeroRepublica has grown to occupy a leadership position, as results demonstrate; in 2004, the airline transported more than two million passengers, a 29 percent increase from the previous year, and increased its share of jet routes in the market to 35 percent. In 2003, the airline achieved ISO 9001 certification for all its processes, guaranteeing the quality of its services.

Copa Airlines (http://www.copaair.com), which began service in 1947, today flies to 31 destinations in 20 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean from its Hub of the Americas at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, Panama. Copa offers flights to 120 other international destinations through codeshare agreements with Continental and Mexicana airlines. Copa and Continental also share a strategic alliance partnership that includes joint participation in Continental's award-winning frequent flyer program, OnePass(R). A leader in aviation industry technology, Copa is the first airline in the Americas to utilize the Vertical Situation Display (VSD) flight deck instrument and has one of the best on-time performance records worldwide. SkyTrax classified Copa as "Best Airline in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean" in April 2004, based on a passenger survey. In June 2004, America Economia Magazine named Copa one of the "25 Best Employers in Latin America."

Copa Airlines offers nonstop service to Panama City from four U.S. cities: daily from New York city, twice daily from Miami, daily from Los Angeles, and four times a week from Orlando. For more company information, visit http://www.copaair.com.

--30--SG/sa*

CONTACT:
Copa Airlines
Patricia Roquebert, 507-225-7655/7868 (Panama)
or
Mayra Meza Zulayka, 210-619-2020 (U.S.)








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