How is merger process going?
In October 2010, we announced the merger between United and Continental, and the main idea is to become the leading airline in the world.
In November 2011, we were given the operating permit, and in March 2012, and we'll be participating on a systems platform, in which United will be the name to be used in the new company.
What will be the benefits for users following the consolidation of this union?
Users will have more destinations than they had before.
We currently have an average of 5,700 daily flights, which means a flight every 15 seconds. We cover all continents.
Here in Panama, we have two flights to Houston and one to New York, and from there, we have connections all over the world.
Another advantage is the "Mileage Xpress". This is a frequent flyer program, which is also used by Cup, Cup will soon be part of Star Alliance, and travelers will be able to redeem all the miles gather in the program with any of the 27 Star Alliance member companies.
Regarding Panama, what type of benefits will the traveler have?
We have many years of operation in Panama, and with the new alliance, passengers will be able to go further, with eight hubs in the United States and two in the Pacific. This is something that no other carrier can compete with. We flew all the continents of the world, and I think that, with this fact, we expand our offers in Panama.
We flew to the "hub" of New York and Houston, which will be the most important in the new "United".
For Panama, this is positive. For the frequent traveler, Copa utilizes the Milleage Plus, and that's a competitive advantage in terms of benefits. We have the ideal product for the business traveler and tourist.
Do you foresee increases in the prices of airline tickets?
Regarding ticket prices, since many years, they vary according to supply and demand.
Before, it was easier to calculate our costs, but with the volatility of fuel prices, we must be creative in order to meet this extra expense that we have.
One of the things we're doing is that in order to pay airplanes’ taxes, they use a single motor; this represents millions of dollars in fuel savings per year. In addition, we began to fly with biofuel.
What is the position of the company’s contributors after the merger?
In many of our destinations, such as Panama, United did not exist. Therefore, there was not duplication of employees, making it easier to merge. In other countries, the option to quit was given to those who wanted, with all the benefits than those with more years.
What are the investments to improve the product?
We’re investing $500 million to improve the product.
The low-cost airlines are gaining momentum, do you consider them a competition?
We believe in competition, indeed, we want competition in order to see what we are doing wrong and, consequently, try to improve.
Who would be your main travelers?Our main travelers are business travelers, and the minority are the ones who travel for pleasure. We have the ideal product for the business traveler and tourist.