"There are still many opportunities in Latin America"
In dialogue with Travel2Latam, Gustavo Esusy, regional manager Mercosur of Copa Airlines, analyzed the current and future of the aeronautical industry.
In a highly competitive market, which is experiencing important changes along with the arrival of new players, how does the aeronautical industry analyze today? What potentials do you see?
Our industry is dynamic, new players always enter the market. Copa Airlines has gained a leading position in the region, we are the most punctual airline in Latin America and that is highly valued by the passengers. We operate a modern and versatile fleet that allows us to connect 80 cities with a single connection in Panama, being the most efficient and best connected hub in Latin America.
What are the priority markets and what are the potentials to develop?
The largest markets, where we operate more routes and frequencies, are the United States, Colombia, Panama, Brazil and Argentina. Copa Airlines has a clear vision: to be the leading airline in Latin American aviation, connecting North, South Central America and the Caribbean through Panama; and the markets are developed following this vision. Opportunities are always evaluated within the map of America.
What is the work like today with travel agents in the region?
Travel agents continue to be our main partners and the largest distribution channel. We work with agencies of all segments, the traditional ones, the OTAs, the corporate ones and the wholesalers that develop the vacation packages.
How do you analyze the current situation of the Mercosur market? What are the biggest differences with other markets?
The region has been growing steadily in recent years, both in capacity and demand. Unlike other Copa markets, demand for holiday segments is greater, however, in recent years corporate traffic on Copa Airlines routes has grown steadily.
What are the latest news of the company in terms of route openings and equipment renewals?
We recently started operations in two cities in Brazil: Fortaleza and Salvador, and we incorporated Barbados. We announce for the end of the year Puerto Vallarta, in Mexico, and the fifth city in Argentina, Salta. However, without a doubt the big news for this month is the arrival of our first Boeing 737 MAX 9.
What are the main challenges facing a company of the size of Copa Airlines, which constantly adds frequencies and routes, to remain leaders in the region?
Every year there are new challenges. This year the Latin American currencies are weakened in relation to the dollar and added to this the price of oil has been constantly rising, however, Copa is a solid company. We offer a quality product and the best connectivity in the Americas, which puts us in a favorable position.
How do you think the aeronautical sector will evolve in a few years?
Definitely, consolidation will continue; the development of new routes and the growth in connectivity, there are still many opportunities in Latin America.