Strategic expansion of the Latin American network
Panama City (Panama), Bogota (Colombia) – Today Star Alliance welcomes Avianca-TACA Airlines and Copa Airlines, consolidating the alliance’s presence in Latin America with these new members and adding a total of 50 new airports to its network.
“On behalf of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Avianca-TACA Airlines and Copa Airlines to the Star Alliance family. The addition of these quality aviation groups strengthens our presence in the rapidly growing Latin American market,” Mark Schwab, CEO Star Alliance said. “With Avianca-TACA Airlines and Copa Airlines, our customers now enjoy increased connectivity across the Americas by connecting through five new Star Alliance hubs right in the middle of the American continent.”
In today’s globalised world, only an airline alliance is in a position to offer passengers such a wide range of choices, since the alliance’s member airlines can link their respective individual networks together.
With Avianca-TACA Airlines and Copa Airlines joining Star Alliance, passengers from both within and outside the region will be able to take advantage of the best possible connections to destinations throughout the alliance’s extensive network, through the Copa Airlines hubs in Panama City (Panama) and Bogota (Colombia) as well as the Avianca-TACA hubs in Bogota, San Salvador (El Salvador), Lima (Peru) and San José (Costa Rica).
In addition to providing access to a worldwide network, Avianca-TACA and Copa Airlines customers will also be able to take full advantage of a wide range of Star Alliance benefits, and members of frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn and redeem their miles on any of the alliance’s member airlines.
Customers with higher status privileges in the LifeMiles programme of Avianca-Taca Airlines or the Mileage Plus programme of Copa Airlines will be entitled to Star Alliance Gold benefits, which offer priority services throughout the alliance’s network, including extra baggage allowance, priority baggage delivery and access to more than 990 lounges in airports worldwide. At the same time, members of the different frequent flyer programmes of other Star Alliance airlines will also enjoy Star Alliance Frequent Flyer benefits when travelling on the Avianca-TACA Airlines and Copa Airlines networks.
Different fare products for leisure and business travellers are one of the other special benefits that Star Alliance offers. Both of the new member airline groups are based in one of the world’s fastest-growing regions, making them ideal markets for expanding the Star Alliance Corporate Plus, Conventions Plus and Meeting Plus products. At the same time, the popular Round the World fare can now offer customers itineraries that include destinations like the Galapagos Islands, Cuzco (Peru) and the forests of Central America, as well as many beach resorts in the Caribbean.
Fábio Villegas, CEO of Avianca-Taca Holding said: “The integration of Avianca-TACA Airlines into the global Star Alliance network is a milestone in the development of our own merged organisation and the quality of our travel services. More than 17,000 employees at Avianca-TACA Airlines are proud to be offering customers a consistently high quality service right across the globe, at a standard that matches that of the most prestigious airlines on this planet.”
“Joining Star Alliance is an accomplishment for our company. We are proud to become part of the largest and most prestigious global airline network and to draw the world’s attention to the Isthmus of Panama,” said Copa Airlines CEO Pedro Heilbron. “In addition, Copa will provide frequent flyers around the world with more benefits and travel options throughout the Latin American region, making it easier for them to connect through Tocumen Airport and visit our country.”
Avianca-TACA Airlines serves over 100 destinations around the world and operates a modern fleet of more than 150 small, medium and long-haul aircraft. The group employs over 17,000 people and has more than three million members in its customer loyalty programme. The Avianca-TACA Airlines Group, in which each of the airlines consolidated several smaller Latin American carriers, agreed on a strategic merger in October 2009, giving rise to a joint network that operates predominantly in North, Central and South America, the Caribbean and in some cities in Europe. TACA initially began negotiations for Star Alliance membership in 2008.
The two companies that constitute Copa Holdings – Copa Airlines and Copa Airlines Colombia - serve 64 destinations in 29 countries. The group recently strengthened its presence in Colombia by rebranding Aero Republica to Copa Airlines Colombia. Copa Airlines’ Hub of the Americas, located at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City (Panama) is the leading hub in Latin America, with most traffic coming from the Caribbean and Central and South America. Copa’s entry into Star Alliance reinforces its 12-year-old alliance with United-Continental.
As of today, the Star Alliance network comprises 27 airlines offering a combined total of more than 21,500 daily flights to 1,356 airports in 193 countries.