By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – COPA Airlines touched down for the first time today at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) with almost 100 passengers from Panama, signaling the commencement of non – stop service, twice weekly between Guyana and Panama with connecting service throughout South central, North America and the Caribbean.
The aircraft left shortly after touching down with a full plane of 124 passengers. Guyana is COPA’s 67th destination.
The new flight will provide Guyanese with non – stop service to Panama’s hub of the Americas and connectivity to more than 66 other destinations flown by COPA Airlines and 1,316 airports in 192 countries.
The commencement of flights was celebrated with a simple ceremony at the CJIA where local aviation officials welcomed the service; expressing confidence in the Airlines’ world class service.
It was pointed out by Head of the CJIA Ramesh Ghir, the pleasure of his management team to welcome any new airline, pointing to the added enthusiasm COPA brings to the staff.
“COPA is no ordinary Airline,” Ghir said. Meanwhile, Chairman of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Hugh Denbow said the last time he was this excited was when the British Airways was in Guyana.
“People who know about COPA would know why I’m this excited, I couldn’t believe when I was first told,” he said.
“We are happy to be at the start of a new and promising partnership and we want to assure that we are going to be here for the long haul,” said Diego Bermudez, Regional Sales Manager.
He added “we want to expand the possibilities for Guyana and COPA Airlines and offer Guyanese our world class service.”
Bermudez dedicated this commencement of service to the late Guyanese pilot trainer Chris Indar Persaud, whom he said trained over 60 per cent of his pilots.
COPA will operate a Boeing 737-700 aircraft with 12 business class seats and 112 economy seats. The flight will depart Guyana on Tuesdays and Fridays for Panama and will connect passengers to North America destinations with a baggage allowance of two pieces at 23 kg each.
Also speaking at the ceremony was Guyana’s Transport Minister Robeson Benn, who recalled his personal experience on COPA and said he was impressed with the efficiency, hassle free service he received and expressed the hope that all Guyanese travelling will experience the same service.
COPA Airlines and COPA Airlines Colombia are subsidiaries of COPA Holdings which is a leading Latin American provider of passengers and cargo services.
The airline has been credited with transforming the hub of the Americas during its more than 65 years of uninterrupted operations.