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Copa Airlines suspends operations of 21 planes following Alaska Airlines incident

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Copa Airlines suspends operations of 21 planes following Alaska Airlines incident


Posted 07/01/2024

Copa Airlines reported Saturday that it suspended the operations of 21 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft while they undergo a technical review, following a guideline from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States.

The Panamanian flag carrier indicated in a statement that “it has initiated the required technical inspections and hopes to return these aircraft to the flight schedule safely and reliably during the next 24 hours.”

“The Copa Airlines human team is working to minimize the effects on our passengers, even though some delays and cancellations are expected due to this situation beyond the airline's control,” added the company's letter.

The flights affected by this temporary suspension are some departing from Panama to Ecuador, Canada, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, and others arriving in the Central American country from Brazil, Uruguay, Honduras, the United States, Guatemala and Costa Rica.

The United States FAA ordered this Saturday the “temporary immobilization” of some 171 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft operated in that and other countries to undergo inspection, after one of these aircraft, from Alaska Airlines, lost part of its fuselage in full flight, although it was able to land safely at the airport in Portland, Oregon (USA).

“The required inspections will last between four and eight hours per aircraft,” the FAA before issuing an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) to require operators to review.

Since 2015, Copa Airlines has ordered 85 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing, as part of a fleet modernization plan.


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Copa extends grounding of 21 Boeing 737 MAX9  planes


 Posted 08/01/2024

Copa Airlines announced, on Sunday, January 7, 2024, that the temporary suspension of operations of 21 Boeing 737 MAX9 aircraft of this company will be extended until further notice.

On Saturday, the decision of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to immobilize some models of Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft was known due to the incident involving the Alaska Airlines aircraft that lost the fuselage in mid-flight.

As a result, the Panamanian airline reported that it decided to ground 21 aircraft of this model, while the authorities "prepare the inspection requirements to return them to operation."

"Copa is providing all the support required to passengers affected by the flight cancellations caused, including proactive communication, priority in-flight accommodations, itinerary changes, refunds, as well as accommodation, food, and miscellaneous expenses when necessary," the company said.

The airline urged its passengers to periodically check the status of their flight on copa.com or the mobile application, before heading to the airport.

Alaska Airlines decided “as a “precautionary measure” to temporarily ground its 65 Boeing MAX-9 aircraft, which will fly “only after completing full maintenance and safety inspections.”


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Panama ban on all  Boeing 737 MAX9 operations


Posted 11/01/2024

The Civil Aeronautics Authority (AAC) of Panama reported on Thursday, January 11, that it temporarily prohibited all operations of Boeing 737 MAX9 aircraft in the country, whose flag airline, Copa Airlines, has 29.

The announcement by the aeronautical authority is known one day after the Secretary of Transportation of the United States, Pete Buttigieg, ordered the immobilization of all Boeing 737 Max 9 "until they are safe", after the accident of a plane of this model of the Alaska Airlines company, which last Friday lost part of the fuselage in mid-flight.

“There is no specific date” for when these devices will return to the skies, Buttigieg said on Wednesday, while this Thursday the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the opening of an investigation into Boeing for the Alaska Airlines incident. , which left no victims.

In its resolution, dated January 8 and signed on January 10, the Panamanian AAC indicates that the FAA “notified the global emergency, after an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 (MAX) plane suffered the detachment of one of the emergency exit doors” on January 5.

It specifies the 21 serial numbers of the Boeing 737-9 (MAX) that cannot operate in the country.

It indicated that Copa “owns 29 aircraft, of which 21 have the 'Mid cabin door plug' option”, which has been vetoed for operation in Panama.

The AAC “began inspections on January 7, 2024, to verify the records and inspections that the Copa company is carrying out and is following up on the latest actions requested by the FAA and the manufacturer to comply with the actions that lift the ban”, says the official statement.

Copa has suspended the operations of 21 Boeing 737 MAX9 aircraft since January 6, and last Tuesday said that the measure would continue "while the authorities and the manufacturer define the inspection instructions necessary for the evaluation and return to operation safely and reliability of said aircraft.”

Last Saturday, the United States FAA ordered the “temporary immobilization” of some 171 Boeing 737 MAX9 aircraft operated in that and other countries to subject them to review, after the Alaska Airlines incident.

“The required inspections will last between four and eight hours per aircraft,” the FAA said Saturday.

According to data from the specialized aviation analysis company Cirium cited by the media, there are 215 MAX9 aircraft in service worldwide.


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Copa suspends  20% of operations following  plane’s grounding


 Posted 16/01/2024

The temporary suspension of operations of Copa Airlines' 21 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft has led to the suspension of at least 80 daily flights, which represents 20% of operations.

The airline’s president  Pedro Heilbron, said that the immobilization of the aircraft has been done following safety instructions that are beyond the control of the airline, which was triggered after the incident of a 737 MAX 9 plane of Alaska Airlines on January 5, with which the Federal Aviation Administration suspended these aircraft models.

“This measure taken as a precaution to safeguard the safety of passengers and crews implied for Copa the temporary suspension of the operation of 21 of our aircraft, which has forced us to cancel around 80 daily flights or more than 20% of our operation, affecting thousands of passengers who have been left without the possibility of reaching their destination or returning home according to their original itinerary the return of these aircraft to operation,” Heilbron said.

He maintained that the airline hopes that the United States Federal Aviation Administration will approve the necessary technical documentation to begin the inspection process of these aircraft.

Heilbron reported that the FAA inspections are scheduled even though the aforementioned review by the FA is scheduled to take place this week, but there is no certainty about its duration or when the operation of the affected aircraft would be authorized again.

He assured that the technical operations team has carried out a preliminary inspection on the 21 Max 9 and are prepared to comply with FAA guidelines and return to operations as soon as possible.

Customer service
Diana Misrachi, director of customer experience at Copa said that they are relocating those affected to new flights, on the dates closest to the original ones on their itinerary.

Flight change charges have been eliminated, offering flexibility for those passengers who decide to choose another travel date without charges.

“Additionally, they have the possibility of canceling the trip and leaving the ticket open for use at a later date without additional charges. Lastly, if they decide to cancel the trip, people have the possibility of requesting a refund for the ticket.”


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Aviation Authority recommends additional checks  on Boeing models


 Posted 22/01/2024

The United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has recommended that airlines conduct additional inspections of all Boeing 737-900 models, particularly their emergency doors.

FAA recognizes that the aforementioned aircraft are not part of the 737-9 MAX fleet currently grounded after an accident on January 5, which forced an Alaska Airlines plane to make an emergency return to the Oregon airport. after losing the emergency door.

However - recalls the FAA - the 737-900 "have the same design of pins on the doors", so the recommendation of "a visual inspection" of the doors represents "an added level of security."

Boeing's shares are just beginning to recover after the fall they suffered on that 5th and the following days until they hit the bottom on January 16, when they dropped below $200 (they closed at 249 on January 5, just before the accident).

The shares began to rise on the 16th and today were at $215 an hour after opening on Wall Street, with an upward trend.


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Copa Airlines  reactivates B737 MAX9 aircraft


Posted 25/01/2024

Copa Airlines received authorization for 21 aircraft that had been temporarily suspended, following the Airworthiness Directive issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to complete the rigorous inspection process required and return to operating.

The inspections were carried out by professional technicians from Copa Airlines, with the supervision of the Civil Aviation Authority (AAC) of Panama.

Copa Airlines will be gradually reactivating, starting today, Thursday, January 25, flights that had been previously canceled, until returning to a full itinerary on Sunday, January 28. Additionally, we are offering new options for passengers whose itineraries have been affected:

Passengers who have confirmed a new travel itinerary may change to a new flight without additional charge, if they wish.

Passengers who do not yet have a new confirmed travel itinerary after their original flight was affected will be able to choose a new flight by calling the call center or visiting a sales office, airport or travel agency.

The airline recommends that passengers check the status of their flight on copa.com or in the mobile application, before heading to the airport.


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