Copa Airlines CEO Pedro Heilbronn.
Copa Airlines CEO Pedro Heilbronn weighs in on growth strategies, consolidation and the importance of a strong hub.
By Mark Chestnut
Copa Airlines is in growth mode — and expansion isn’t likely to slow down much in the near future, according to Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Holdings S.A. “Between 2011 and 2013, for those three years, we grew at an average compounded annual growth rate of around 20 percent,” he said. “That’s very high in any industry, especially in aviation, and we never said we’d maintain or sustain that kind of growth rate in the future. But if you go back and look at the last 10 years, we’ve grown an average of between 10 and 15 percent. So what we’ve said is that, going forward, we can sustain in that range; low double digits. And we’re pretty confident. There will be ups and downs, but we’re pretty confident that we can keep a low-double digit growth rate.”
This year alone, Copa Airlines announced plans to increase its capacity by 10 percent, by adding eight new Boeing Next Generation 737-800 aircraft — the largest Boeing order in the airline’s history, which will increase its total fleet to 98 aircraft. In addition, the company announced new service to Montreal, Fort Lauderdale and Georgetown, Guyana. Heilbron also credited the strength of the Star Alliance, which Copa joined in 2012, with helping to build the airline’s presence internationally.
In May 2014, the month for which the most recent statistics are available, Copa’s system-wide passenger …
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