Panama president Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez and United States president Barack Obama have witnessed a historic agreement in which Copa Airlines and Boeing announced an order for 61 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 airplanes.
The order, valued at $6.6 billion at list prices, is the largest commercial transaction ever between a Panamanian and a US-based company.
The signing ceremony took place in Panama City as leaders from throughout the Western hemisphere gathered for the seventh Summit of the Americas.
Presidents Varela and Obama were on hand as Copa chairman Stanley Motta, Copa chief executive Pedro Heilbron and Boeing chairman Jim McNerney signed documents recognising the agreement.
The airplanes were previously attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries web site.
“Copa is proud to sign this landmark order in the presence of our two presidents,” said Heilbron.
“The Next-Generation 737 is the backbone for our fleet today, and our order for the 737 MAX shows our continued commitment for the future to bring people together across all of the Americas using the most modern and efficient airplanes in the sky as well as our Hub of the Americas in Panama City.”
Copa Airlines will use the airplanes to replace existing airplanes and support the carrier’s plans for strategic growth.
“With the 737 MAX our customers will enjoy all the benefits of the best technology available in the market,” said Motta.
“This order is an important step in strengthening Copa’s leadership in the region as we enhance our world class product and expand our network.
“Similarly, we are very excited about bringing new opportunities for Panama’s economic growth in the process.”
Copa will be the first airline in the region to operate the 737 MAX 9 on deep South American routes.
The 737 MAX 9’s range and passenger comfort are ideally suited to Copa’s long-haul route network.
“It is an honour to be joined by presidents Varela and Obama on this great day.
“All of us at Boeing are proud to partner with Copa as it works to remain one of the most progressive airlines in the world,” said McNerney.
“Copa has a history of leading the way for Latin America’s aviation industry, and this order shows their dedication to continuous improvement in performance, customer satisfaction and efficiency.”
The 737 MAX builds on the strengths of today’s Next-Generation 737 by incorporating the latest-technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced
Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.