As the government of Panamá announced the closing of its airspace to international passenger arrivals beginning Sunday, until April 21, Panamanian regional carrier Copa Airlines (NYSE: CPA) announced that it has been forced to cancel all flights so will temporarily cease operations.
Panamá’s government followed suit with other governments around the world instituting travel & immigration restrictions to fight the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic.
“At Copa Airlines we understand and support the decision of the Government of Panama. For us nothing is more important than the health and well-being of Panama and the countries we serve, our passengers, our collaborators and all the people who transit or work at the Hub of the Americas,” said Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines. “I am sure that all together we will get ahead of this difficult situation that we face today. We will work like never before to recover and reconnect the cities that welcomed us, transporting our loyal passengers throughout the length and breadth of our continent, “he added.
Copa tentatively plans to resume operations on April 22. The airline, according to industry analysts, boasts a relatively strong balance sheet compared to its peers and is expected to weather this emergency without lasting financial weakness.
Options for passengers
For travelers, Copa made its commercial policies more flexible, allowing passengers to modify itineraries free of charge for changes in tickets purchased until March 31, 2020 and dated travel until June 15, 2020. Any unused ticket will retain its value, and can be used to schedule new travel with the final flight date until December 31, 2021. Likewise, passengers who have already started their trip and were caught off guard by the emergency, Copa will allow until March 22, 2020, passengers to make unlimited changes to reservations without charges and regardless of the date, rate or even destination of the final leg of the passenger’s flight.