July 28, 2020 / 2:06 AM / 17 days ago

Copa Airlines aims to restart operations in early September

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Panama’s Copa Airlines (CPA.N) said on Monday it would resume flights on Sept. 4, with about 3% of its capacity, if the Central American country’s government does not again extend a ban on international travel.

The airline said it set that date for the restart to “maintain some flexibility” in the event the travel ban is extended and to minimize the impact on passengers if adjustments to itineraries are needed.

“If we resume operations in September, we project that we will do so with approximately 3% of all existing operations prior to the impact of COVID-19,” the airline told Reuters.

Copa suspended all operations from March 22, making it the first Latin American carrier to take such a measure to weather the coronavirus crisis.

Initially, Copa expected to resume flights with 10% of capacity.

Copa, which has 102 aircraft, has said it will definitively retire all 28 of its Embraer 190 and Boeing 737-700 planes, accounting for nearly 30% of its fleet.

It will also retire a similar number of Boeing 737-800 planes, some temporarily and others that will be put up for sale.

Reporting by Elida Moreno; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Peter Cooney

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