Copa Airlines Colombia
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded23 November 1992 (as Aero República)
Commenced operations6 October 2010
HubsEl Dorado International Airport
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programConnectMiles
AllianceStar Alliance (affiliate)
Parent companyCopa Holdings
HeadquartersBogotá, Colombia
Key peopleEduardo Lombana (CEO)
WebsiteCopa Airlines Colombia

Copa Airlines Colombia is a commercial passenger airline founded and registered under the corporate name of AeroRepública S.A. in November 1992, and is the second airline in Colombia for international passengers carried after Avianca and the third in total traffic. It covers national and international destinations from the El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá and from the main cities of Colombia. As of October 5, 2010, the airline used the trade name of Copa Airlines Colombia.

Today AeroRepublica S.A flights using the Copa Airlines brand Copa Holdings in some destinations and also the Wingo brand in others.



An AeroRepública Douglas DC-9-30 at Gustavo Rojas Pinilla International Airport in 1994

In 1992, during the economic liberalization policy of Colombian President César Gaviria, under the leadership of Alfonso Velandia and Amos Ginor, negotiations began to create AeroRepública, the first private airline to be created in Colombia in years. The airline started operations on 19 June 1993, with Boeing 727-100 aircraft painted with the yellow, blue and red colors of the flag of Colombia, initially flying to Colombian coastal cities, such as Santa Marta, Cartagena, and San Andrés from Bogotá.

In the first months of operations, AeroRepública added new domestic destinations such as Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla, Montería, and Leticia. It also launched international services to Aruba and Cuba. Meanwhile, the three 727-100s were replaced by second-hand McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 purchased from Continental Airlines and Alitalia.

Operational mishaps and restructuring (1993–2005)

During the first years of operations, AeroRepública's reputation became tarnished due to constant mechanical problems with its ageing fleet, low punctuality, and mismanagement. Furthermore, the airline was grounded by Colombia's Aerocivil for two weeks in May 1997, due to safety reasons. The airline's board of directors reversed the situation by restructuring its business processes, launching a new corporate image, acquiring a fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-80s, eliminating unprofitable routes, and adding the slogan "Live the Change" on advertisements.[citation needed]

Acquisition by Copa Airlines and expansion (2005–present)

An Embraer 190LR of Copa Airlines Colombia at Tocumen International Airport in 2011

In 2005, Panama's flag carrier, Copa Airlines, wanted to enter the Colombian market. After negotiating for several companies, including entering the auction for bankrupt Avianca, Copa acquired 90% of AeroRepública. With this acquisition, AeroRepública was completely transformed. The former president of the airline's board, Alfonso Avila Velandia, resigned and was succeeded by Roberto Junguito. AeroRepública adopted a corporate image similar to Copa's and Continental's (now United) and began the retirement of the MD-80 fleet, in favor of the more efficient Embraer 190 and Boeing 737-700 aircraft.

In early 2007, an AeroRepública Embraer 190 took off from Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport, in Medellín, for a demonstration flight, although current regulations do not allow that type of aircraft to operate from/to that airport. In addition, domestic routes were consolidated and international services to Quito, Caracas, Panama City, Mexico, and elsewhere were launched, and service to Miami, São Paulo and other cities was planned.[1]

In 2010, Copa Holdings changed the airline's name from AeroRepública to Copa Airlines Colombia, thus unifying the brand.[2]

On 20 October 2016, Copa Holdings announced the creation of Wingo, a new low-cost airline operating under Copa Airlines Colombia, which will serve domestic and international routes and replace the Copa Airlines Colombia brand, which had been losing money for several years, and had lost $29.7 million in the first half of 2016.[3] The new airline started operations on 1 December 2016, with a fleet of four Boeing 737-700s, each with a 142-seat all-Economy configuration.

Since March 2020, Copa Airlines Colombia no longer has its own fleet. Its flights are currently operated with the Copa Airlines fleet through fleet exchange agreements.[4]

Former logo (2006-2010)


A former Boeing 737-700 of Copa Airlines Colombia taking off at José María Córdova International Airport in 2011

Copa Airlines Colombia, as of March 2020, no longer has dedicated planes for its operations. Instead, aircraft is sourced from parent carrier Copa Airlines with aircraft rotated in and out of Colombia.

Former fleet

Copa Airlines Colombia previously operated the following aircraft:[5]

Copa Airlines Colombia former fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Boeing 727-100 3 1993 1998
Boeing 737-700 4 2010 2020
Embraer 190AR 5 2008 2019
Embraer 190LR 12 2006 2019
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 10 1994 2006
McDonnell Douglas MD-81 5 2001 2007
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 3 2005 2009
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 4 2004 2010


ConnectMiles is Copa Airlines Colombia's frequent-flyer program, through a partnership with Copa Airlines. Customers accumulate miles from flight segments flown on Copa Airlines Colombia, Copa Airlines, and other Star Alliance member airlines. Benefits of Premier status include priority check-in, priority boarding, complimentary upgrades, and discounted airport lounge memberships (United Club/Copa Club). Due to the Continental-United merger, Copa Airlines Colombia phased out the OnePass frequent flyer program on 31 December 2011, and adopted the MileagePlus program on 3 March 2012.[6]

In March 2015, Copa Airlines announced that it would phase out the MileagePlus program in favor of ConnectMiles. The new program was fully implemented on 1 July 2015.[7][8]

Accidents and incidents

See also


  1. ^ "Aero Republica to launch Mexico and Cuba services". Retrieved 2010-08-16. Aero Republica
  2. ^ "Aero Republica becomes Copa Airlines Colombia". 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
  3. ^ "Copa Launches New LLC to Stem Colombia Losses". flightglobal. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Copa Airlines dice que podría no tener suficiente liquidez para sobrevivir crisis y volver a volar". Reuters. 2020-04-27. Retrieved 2023-01-25.
  5. ^ "Copa Airlines Colombia Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Member preview of 2012 MileagePlus program". Archived from the original on 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
  7. ^ "Introduction". Copa Airlines. Archived from the original on January 27, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  8. ^ "Introduction". Copa Airlines. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  9. ^ Flight International July 2005
  10. ^ Accident description for Aero República Embraer ERJ 190-100IGW (ERJ-190AR) registration HK-4455 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 17 November 2016.