By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — On July 6, COPA Airlines, a member of the global Star Alliance network, will commence direct flights between Panama City and Paramaribo, Suriname, connecting this city with 80 other COPA destinations through its Panama City hub. This development is significant for Suriname, which has been isolated from the Americas for decades.
The COPA/Avianca/Avianca alliance will offer travellers in and out of Suriname access to over 100 destinations on the Avianca, COPA and United Airlines network to North America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia and at competitive fares.
Passengers will also be able to connect on Turkish Airlines mega hub in Istanbul through COPA’s Turkish Airlines codeshare alliance from Panama City.
The connecting flight between Panama City and Paramaribo will initially operate twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays, promoting investment opportunities for economic and tourism development between Suriname, Panama and the other countries where COPA Airlines operates
“We are pleased to announce this direct flight to Paramaribo, a city that will benefit from the connectivity offered by our extensive network of destinations, providing access to the 32 other countries COPA serves. We are confident that this new route, which will commence on July 6 of this year, will promote greater opportunities for commercial and tourist activity in this unique and attractive country,” said Pedro Heilbron, CEO of COPA Airlines.
“Once operations between Panama City and Paramaribo begin, Suriname will be quickly and efficiently connected to 32 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean through the hub of the Americas, providing passengers with shorter connection times, service sending checked baggage to their final destination and the possibility of completing their flights without the need for customs or immigration procedures,” he added.
“We are very proud to state that the efforts of our team, the team of COPA and the routes development experts, have finally resulted in COPA Airlines adding PBM to their route network. This new route brings Suriname closer to the rest of the Americas, which contributes to our strategic vision to reach one million passengers in 2033. We invite all the people from the Americas to visit our beautiful country with its untouched nature, where you can taste a great variation of cultures. We wish COPA Airlines many safe flights and hope to grow as partners, said Vijay Chotkan, CEO of the J. A. Pengel International Airport.
Flight CM318 will initially operate twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays, departing at 9:17 a.m. from Panama (local time) and arriving at Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport at 3:45 p.m. (local time). The return flight, CM319, will depart on Wednesdays and Saturdays from Paramaribo at 5:52 p.m. (local time), arriving in Panama at 8:28 p.m. (local time). The route will be operated by a Boeing 737-700 with capacity for 12 passengers in Business Class and 112 in the main cabin.
COPA offers passengers free inflight meals, entertainment and drinks; additionally, passengers are allowed two suitcases free of charge and the Panama hub is not as congested and problematic like Miami or Port of Spain.
Already Copa is offering fares ranging from US$550-681 round trip between Paramaribo/JFK, New York, and with seamless same day connection. They have an advantage over Caribbean Airlines (CAL) whose fare is US$981 between Paramaribo/NYC.