Raleigh-Durham will get new path to Panama Metropolis

Copa Airways is planning to launch a few new routes to North America within the coming months: one to a fast-growing East Coast airport within the U.S. and one other that is quickly to be a serious airport for leisure vacationers in Mexico.

The Panama flag service on Monday introduced new service to Raleigh-Durham Worldwide Airport (RDU) from its house base Tocumen Worldwide Airport (PTY) in Panama.

Raleigh-Durham Worldwide Airport (RDU) leaders announce the brand new path to Panama Metropolis. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Its sixteenth U.S. vacation spot, Copa will function the route 4 instances weekly with its Boeing 737-800 plane beginning in late June.

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Additionally introduced Monday, the Panama Metropolis-based service mentioned it could add two further cities past RDU. It can be part of the rising listing of airways planning service to the brand-new Felipe Carrillo Puerto Airport (TQO) in Tulum, Mexico. The airport is about to welcome worldwide airways for the primary time subsequent month, and within the course of, it’ll give vacationers a a lot simpler hyperlink to the favored Mexico seashore vacation spot. In South America, Copa will add service to the Brazilian vacation spot of Florianopolis.

Within the U.S., nonetheless, Copa’s new flights to RDU are the show-stopper.

Copa’s service to Raleigh-Durham

Copa’s nonstop service between Raleigh-Durham and Panama Metropolis, Panama, launches June 21.

From the outset, Copa will function 4 weekly spherical journeys, with flights on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

This is what the schedule appears like:

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  • RDU-PTY: Departs 4:20 p.m. and arrives 7:46 p.m.
  • PTY-RDU: Departs 8:56 a.m. and arrives 2:28 p.m.

The 737-800 Copa will fly for the route has 16 business-class seats, 24 premium (or further legroom) seats, and 120 seats in the primary cabin.

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Copa’s rising US route map

Copa executives readily available for the route announcement Monday mentioned including an RDU pin to its U.S. route map is a part of its bigger aim to develop capability 10% to 12% over every of the subsequent a number of years in keeping with its development final yr, chief industrial officer Dennis Cary mentioned.


“A part of our development technique is each including extra service in locations we already fly, but in addition including new routes,” Cary mentioned in an interview with TPG.

This is what Copa’s summer time 2024 route map to the U.S. regarded like previous to the RDU service announcement, per aviation analytics firm Cirium.


The airline added nonstop flights to Austin Bergstrom Worldwide Airport (AUS) and Baltimore/Washington Worldwide Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) final yr.

In keeping with Cary, a part of Copa’s development is fueled by demand from vacationers effectively exterior Panama who usually are not solely fascinated about flying the service to a last vacation spot in Panama Metropolis but in addition fascinated about utilizing the airline to hook up with one in every of its dozens of locations in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. That is one thing that is way more prevalent at the moment than, say, 5 years in the past, he mentioned.

“The event of the U.S. traveler, and notably the U.S. leisure traveler, into components of our community is certainly expanded versus what it could have been in 2019,” Cary mentioned. “That is a part of what makes these new routes thrilling: We’re not solely reliant on our core buyer base in Latin America, however actually growing a following right here within the U.S.”

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RDU gaining worldwide footing

In the meantime, Copa’s arrival at RDU is simply the newest bit of excellent information the airport has gotten of late.

Simply final month, it was one of many U.S. airports that benefitted probably the most from a serious route shakeup at Frontier, which launched round a half-dozen new routes to RDU.

It is also now a crew base for latest startup low-cost service Avelo, and it has gained quite a lot of routes by way of one other startup airline, Breeze.

Terminal 2 at Raleigh-Durham Worldwide Airport (RDU). SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

However RDU is not simply getting new routes aboard domestic-centric, ultra-low-cost carriers.

Aeromexico, for example, will launch nonstop service from there to Mexico Metropolis Worldwide Airport (MEX) this summer time. Lufthansa may also start serving RDU with nonstops to Frankfurt Airport (FRA). That is on prime of Air France’s nonstop to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), which launched final fall (changing a previous Delta Air Traces route).

The airport has current transatlantic service to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) aboard American Airways. Air Canada flies to each Toronto and Montreal from RDU.

Even earlier than unveiling the Copa route, RDU was set to see seats to worldwide locations improve by 75% in comparison with 5 years in the past, in line with Cirium knowledge.

“We’re including new airways and new locations at a report tempo,” airport authority board chair Ellis Hankins mentioned at Monday’s occasion, noting main enlargement plans on the airport for the approaching years to accommodate the expansion.

“Gate administration challenges are an amazing drawback to have,” Hankins mentioned.

The airport noticed a report 14.5 million passengers in 2023, narrowly surpassing the mark set in 2019. After including service to 25 nonstop markets final yr, it is already gained 5 new locations within the first few weeks of 2024.

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