In 1980, the airline withdrew from the domestic market to focus on its international reach. This year a Boeing 737-100 was added to the fleet. During this decade , the airline expanded its network of destinations to include Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, San Juan in Puerto Rico and Miami in the U.S.
In 1992, it began operating from the first Panamanian headquarters for flights connecting within Latin America, creating the Hub of the Americas in the Tocumen International Airport.
Flights were added to Caracas in Venezuela, Mexico City, Santiago in Chile, Cali and Bogota in Colombia, Quito and Guayaquil in Ecuador, Lima in Peru, Buenos Aires in Argentina and Havana in Cuba.
In 1998, a strategic alliance was formed with Continental Airlines and in 1999, the airline launched its new brand as Copa Airlines and adopted the OnePass® frequent flyer program. At the same time, it began to upgrade its fleet with Boeing 737 Next Generation planes.
The strategy from 2000 onward was to focus on expansion within the region. For the year 2005, the airline incorporated flights to Cancun in Mexico, Sao Paulo in Brazil, San Andres in Colombia, Tegucigalpa in Honduras, and Orlando, Los Angeles and New York in the United States.
In 2005, Copa Airlines, a subsidiary of Copa Holdings S.A., began trading on the New York Stock Exchange, becoming the third Latin American airline to be listed on this important exchange.
In 2006, it added the destinations: Cordoba in Argentina, Guadalajara in Mexico, Washington, D.C., in the United States, and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. It simultaneously increased the frequency of its flights to seven destinations.
In 2008, it began operating flights to Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, and Belo Horizonte in Brazil, while announcing new destinations such as Santa Cruz in Bolivia, Valencia in Venezuela and Aruba. Copa Airlines continues adding destinations and upgrading its modern fleet with Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 planes, and Embraer 190 planes.
Announces order for 15 airplanes to be delivered between 2010 and 2015 as well as eight purchase options to be delivered between 2015 and 2017. The new aircraft will be fitted with the distinctive Boeing Sky Interior design.
Copa Airlines starts flying to the island of St. Maarten and announces that Aero República will operate under the Copa Airlines Colombia brand name. In addition, Copa Airlines communicates that it is in the process of joining the Star Alliance. Copa Airlines and Boeing announce the acquisition of 32 Next Generation 737-800 aircraft, including 10 purchase options, for a total of approximately US $2.6 billion dollars; the largest request for new aircraft in the history of Copa Airlines.
Expands its Hub of the Americas in Panama from 4 to 6 flight banks and grows its network with 7 new destinations, solidifying the Hub of the Americas’ leadership position in the region.
Copa Holdings, S.A. (NYSE-Listed CPA) celebrates five years of trading.
Announces the new MileagePlus Frequent Flyer Program along with United Airlines and in June, formally joining the airlines' global network, Star Alliance.
Starts its flight operations to Las Vegas, Recife, Curazao, Guanacaste, and Iquitos.
Begins service to Boston and Tampa; receives the SkyTrax awards for the Best Airline in Central America and the Caribbean and the Airline with the Best Cabin Crew and Airport Staff in Central America and the Caribbean; and ends the year with a fleet of 90 airplanes.