Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Copa Airline executives today were joined by 65 Copa ambassadors for the delivery and departure of the airline`s first Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 passenger airplane.
The Panamanian airline invited its Star Employees, corporate guests and Latin American journalists to the ceremony so they could make the new airplane`s maiden voyage, from Seattle to Panama City`s Tocumen International Airport.
The 737-800 is a larger version of the 737-700 Copa received in September as part of a six-airplane fleet renewal. Under this phase of deliveries, Copa is to receive two additional Next-Generation 737s—one 737-700 and one 737-800—before year`s end, which will give it 16 Next-Generation 737s.
In addition to technological advances such as performance enhancing Blended Winglets, this latest addition to Copa`s fleet features sophisticated flight-deck instrumentation called Vertical Situation Display (VSD). Developed by Boeing, VSD is an advanced navigational aid that creates a visual plot of the airplane`s current and projected flight path in relation to ground terrain. Copa is the first airline in the Americas to incorporate advanced VSD technology.
Copa Airlines already operates one of the youngest fleets in Latin America.
Copa`s 737-700s seat 124 passengers, with 112 seats in the main cabin and 12 seats in business class. Its 737-800s seat 155 passengers, with 141 in the main cabin and 14 in business.
Tocumen International Airport, Copa`s hub, is positioned as a time-saving hub on long routes between North and South America and the Caribbean. The Panamanian airline operates four of the world`s longest 737 routes out of Tocumen—to Buenos Aires, Santiago, Sao Paulo and Los Angeles—taking full advantage of the 737`s exceptional range.
The digitally redesigned 737 is the newest and most technologically advanced airplane in the single-aisle market. Outfitted with a new wing and more powerful engines, the new 737s can fly higher, faster and farther than previous models and the competition. In addition, the Next-Generation 737 flight deck features the latest liquid-crystal flat-panel displays and is designed to accommodate new communications and flight-management capabilities.