Good news for travelers in Panama and Colombia! Copa Holdings, the parent company of Copa Airlines, has a low-cost airline based out of Panama City, that connects travelers with a variety of cheap, fun, international and domestic locations. This is huge for regional flights, especially to and from Colombia, and will generate more competition for Viva Colombia, previously the only budget airline leaving from Panama (Panama Pacifico Airport). Though owned by the same entity, Wingo is a completely separate brand from Copa Airlines, which currently has flights (and will share routes) to Bogota and Medellin, from Tocumen International Airport. Wingo is looking to offer lower prices than Copa for Panama/Colombian travel, but with a more “bare bones” approach to amenities, and small surcharges for things like luggage, food, and seat assignments.
Wingo is taking on a regional market that is becoming more and more demanding for low-cost flights
The main purpose of Wingo, from a business perspective, is to re-brand and re-invent Copa Holdings’ domestic service in Colombia, Copa Colombia, and expand it. It’s also needed to help stop hemorrhaging profits, which have declined in the domestic Colombia market for the past few years. Wingo will take over Copa Colombia’s existing domestic routes, and travel to 16 cities in 10 countries. All of the routes are in Central/South America and the Caribbean, and should be sizably cheaper than bigger, full-service international carriers, giving travelers another great option for low-cost business or pleasure travel.
Panama flights are all international, leaving from the city’s Panama Pacifico airport
Another big win for Panama in all of this is that Wingo’s local hub is at the Panama Pacifico Airport, which is a huge bonus for many travelers originating from Panama City. Wingo’s in-city location will help draw more low-cost travelers, and cut commute times as far as getting to flights. From Panama, you can to fly direct daily to Bogota, Medellin, and San Jose (Costa Rica). However, through Colombia, you can connect to lots of other Latin American locations, including Cancun, Aruba, Quito, Caracas, and Mexico City. Since Copa currently has direct flights to all three international locations listed by Wingo, it will be interesting to see how they share the market under the same parent corporation. Copa, however, insists that the products are different enough to not directly compete, but rather to share and expand these markets. For now though, it’s just speculation.