They were greeted with traditional dances, a jazz group, and cupcakes decorated in the colors of Copa Airlines. The passengers had also witnessed the traditional ribbon cutting before boarding, marking the launch of four weekly flights from YUL to Panama City.
"It's a grand moment for Montreal and Québécois. In all, over 55 destinations in 22 countries of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean have been made much more accessible to residents of the province to visit year round," indicated James Cherry, President and CEO of Aéroports de Montréal.
Fernando Fondevilla, commercial director for North America of Copa Airlines, is pleased with this launch, since he feels that this destination has everything to offer for Quebecers.
"Aside from the new business opportunities available to Quebec companies in this area, we have very solid arguments for what it offers to tourism. Our ecotourism is a more dynamic sector, and we also have marvelous beaches and huge malls for those who love to go shopping," he explained.
This new flight option, open all year long, allows travelers to discover not only Panama but also all its neighboring countries. Copa doesn't even charge an additional ticket fee if passengers to another destination want to make a layover in Panama for up to 72 hours.
Futhermore, Fernando Fondevilla confirmed that he is working with Tourisme Québec, big tourism agencies, and wholesalers to promote the destination in the province and create a mix of tour packages.
It's certainly a promising start. As noted, the first flight from Montreal to Panama was full.
About the aircraft:
The Boeing 737-700 Next Generation plane seats 12 passengers in business class and 112 in economy class, for a total of 124 seats on flights to Panama.
The flight to Panama lasts 5 hours 30 minutes, leaving from Montreal on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at 9:33 am and arriving in Panama City at 2:22 pm.
The return flight departs Panama City on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 6 pm and arrives in Montreal shortly before 1 am.
A meal is served onboard.