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August 8, 2018 / 5:26 PM / 10 days ago

Airline Copa's profit drops 21 percent on Panama-Venezuela spat


(Reuters) - Panama-based airline Copa Holdings (CPA.N) on Wednesday reported net operating income of $49 million, down 21 percent from a year earlier due in part to a diplomatic spat between Panama and Venezuela that temporarily blocked flights to Caracas.

Copa’s profit missed an average estimate of $55 million in a Thomson Reuters survey of nine analysts.

In March, a Panama government commission named Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro as an individual likely to be involved in money laundering activities, prompting retaliation that halted commercial activity between the two countries for weeks.

As a result, Copa canceled some 300 flights in April.

“This was a challenging quarter for Copa Holdings,” the airline said in its earnings release, citing the “cancellation of all flights to Venezuela,” which lasted for 90 days.

image.pngThe Venezuelan market can be lucrative for Copa because most other major airlines have stopped flights to Caracas amid a deep economic crisis, including United Airlines (UAL.N), Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) and Avianca Holdings SA AVT_p.CN.

The second quarter is often Copa’s weakest. This year, higher oil prices made up a growing share of operating expenses. Fuel costs consumed 30 percent of Copa’s $634 million in revenue this quarter, compared to 22 percent a year earlier.

Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by James Dalgleish



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Copa suspends flights to Venezuela


Posted 13/12/2020

Panamanian airline  Copa announced Saturday, December 12, the suspension of its flights to Venezuela and from Caracas to Panama, starting Monday, following a measure taken by the authorities of this South American country.

In a statement, the company states that the decision was adopted by the Venezuelan government, through the National Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Venezuela.

"Copa Airlines regrets the inconvenience that this measure, beyond the control of the company, can cause in the trips of its passengers," the airline reported.

Customers are informed that, to manage refunds, they access the company's website and also stay informed about the evolution of the situation.

Meanwhile the Venezuelan company LASER Airlines reported that the flights on December 12, 15, 19 and 22, to and from Panama, were canceled.

This airline said that the cancellation was  due to the "denial of permits by the Panamanian aeronautical authorities."



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Copa Flights To/From Venezuela and Panama-Venezuela Spats
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Flights between Panama and Venezuela Suspended

After the South American country decided to suspend flights to and from Venezuela by Copa Airlines, the Civil Aeronautical Authority of Panama cancelled flights from Venezuela.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Panama has been forced to cancel existing flights to Venezuelan airlines, in response to the same measure taken by that country and until equal and reciprocal treatment is reached in the frequency of flights, as corresponds by the air commercial agreement, explained the Civil Aeronautical Authority (CAA).

See "Interest in Travel and Tourism: No Clear Direction"

From AAC's statement:

Panama, December 13, 2020. The AAC announces that Panama and Venezuela currently have an equal bilateral air frequency agreement updated in 2015, which in principle gives each country access to up to 63 weekly frequencies on either route.

However, as a result of the pandemic, both countries have reduced to a minimum the number of flights between the two countries, a situation that has been released on the Panamanian side, but which does not count with the reciprocity of Venezuela.

While Panama has granted up to 9 flights a week to Venezuelan airlines, Venezuela only allows 3 flights a week to the Panamanian airline, citing restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On December 7, 2020, and under the unequal conditions described above, the Venezuelan side requested Panama to further increase frequencies for its airlines, without yet giving up the access required by the Panamanian side.

Based on the Bilateral Air Agreement, Panama requested from Venezuela a treatment of reciprocity and equity in the flight frequencies, as the only condition for the approval of the additional flights proposed.

However, on Friday, December 12, 2020, Venezuela proceeded to unilaterally cancel, without prior notice and without justification, the 3 weekly flights of the Panamanian airline.

Given this situation and the lack of fair and equal treatment that has been generated for months, the CAA has been obliged to cancel from this date, the access to Panama of the Venezuelan airlines until the flights required by the Panamanian airline are authorized and the equal and fair treatment agreed in the current bilateral agreement is reestablished. 




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Venezuela opens doors to flights from Panama, Dominican Republic


Posted 18/01/2021

EFE-Venezuela will reopen commercial flights to and from Panama and the Dominican Republic, suspended  in December a few days after an eight-month suspension due to the covid-19 pandemic was lifted, the local aeronautical authoritie reported Monday.

They are crucial routes, as they became the main connection points for Venezuelans amid the collapse of air activity in their country.

"The routes between (...) Venezuela and the brother countries of Panama and the Dominican Republic are opened and the routes of Mexico, Turkey and Bolivia are ratified," announced the National Institute of Civil Aeronautics (INAC) .

Last November, Venezuela gave the green light to commercial flights to and from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Turkey, and Iran by approving an exception in the ban on air operations in force since March due to covid-19. Later, it progressively added connections with Panama, Russia, and Bolivia.

However, in December, the Venezuelan government again announced the closure of routes to and from Panama and the Dominican Republic, claiming that the measure sought to contain cases of the new coronavirus.

"There have been many cases of flights from abroad, that is why we restrict flights," socialist President Nicolás Maduro justified then.

Before the pandemic, which reached a Venezuela submerged in a serious economic and political crisis, the South American country suffered a massive exodus of airlines due to state debts amounting to $ $3.8 billion dollars according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA 

This is due to the lack of foreign exchange to repatriate profits in the framework of a strict exchange control applied since 2003 and made more flexible in recent months.

However, companies such as Air France and Iberia maintained flights to destinations such as Paris or Madrid, while others such as Wingo flew to Bogotá



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Panama to negotiate Venezuela flight schedules


Posted 19/01/2021

Panama and Venezuela have to negotiate how many air frequencies will operate between the two countries, now that the Institute of Civil Aeronautics lifted the ban it established since December 13 on commercial flights.

Carlos Von Seidlitz, director of air traffic for the Civil Aviation Authority (AAC) , told La Prensa    that before the suspension, the seven Venezuelan airlines had authorization to operate 9 flights a week to Panama, while Copa Airlines    the flag company of Panama, could only make three flights to the Venezuelan capital, Caracas

A week ago, the director of the AAC, Gustavo Pérez, sent a letter to his Venezuelan counterpart, reiterating the country's position to receive reciprocal treatment regarding the number of assigned frequencies.

The Venezuelan authorities had indicated that the suspension of flights with Panama and the Dominican Republic was due to the increase in the number of positive cases of coronavirus that were entering through commercial flights. At the time they indicated that in a single flight they detected 57 positive passengers with the coronavirus, but they did not specify the origin of the flight.

Von said that the current reality prevents resuming the 63 weekly connections between the two countries before the pandemic, but said that the number of flights that are resumed should be equal for the airlines of the two countries.

"If they ask us for frequencies from other Venezuelan cities, they must also authorize Copa Airlines to operate on that route," he said.

In 2020, the National Migration Service reported a movement (entry and exit) of 94,892 Venezuelan citizens, a drop of 74% compared to the 369,821 registered in 2019.



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Flights to Venezuela resume Jan. 23


Posted 20/01/2021

Air operations between Panama and Venezuela will resume  on  Saturday  January 23 .These are the Panama-Caracas and Panama-Valencia routes, as confirmed by the Civil Aeronautical Authority (AAC).

The AAC specified that Copa Airlines has been authorized to  operate fly four weekly flights between Panama and Caracas and one weekly flight between Panama and Valencia.

Passengers traveling to Venezuela must comply with the requirements established by the Venezuelan authorities, which includes the mandatory presentation of the negative PCR molecular test, the AAC specified.

On December 13, the National Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Venezuela suspended flights with Panama, alleging an increase in the number of positive cases of coronavirus that were entering through commercial flights.



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