Copa Airlines On-time Performance

Copa Airlines continues its reign as the most on-time airline in Latin America

Since we started the On-time Performance Service Awards eight years ago, we have been able to observe through our own data what airlines have achieved in terms of improving their operations. It’s a great accomplishment to have the best on-time performance, but an even greater accomplishment to consistently maintain those outstanding operations year over year.

For the next few weeks, we are releasing a five-year on-time performance review of each airline that has won one of our OPS Awards multiple years in a row. This week, we are highlighting the performance of Copa Airlines. Copa has been the most punctual airline in Latin America four consecutive years.

Check out our infographic to see how Copa has progressed to become the most on-time airline in Latin America:

Copa Airlines on-time performance

Copa is the best of the best in Latin America

In 2012, we improved our data coverage enough to begin recognizing Latin America for their on-time performance and created a category for most on-time Latin American Major Airline. Since the category was created, Copa has claimed the title four out of five times. Its only loss occurred in the first year that the Latin American category was offered; however, Copa has consistently improved its on-time performance since then. Now, the airline is head and shoulders above the rest.

Copa’s on-time arrival for the past five years:

  • 2012: 85.58%
  • 2013: 88.26%
  • 2014: 90.67
  • 2015: 91.02%
  • 2016: 89.01%

From 2012 to 2015, Copa’s on-time performance increased significantly. Jumping from an on-time arrival of 85.58% in 2012 to an on-time arrival of 91.02% in 2015, Copa managed to create a 5.44% improvement in its operations.

Additionally, it is considered especially impressive when an airline’s on-time performance reaches 90%. Copa managed to achieve and exceed a 90% on-time performance in both 2014 and 2015. The airline experienced a slight dip in on-time performance in 2016; however, it only declined by 1% and they still managed to pull off an 89.01% on-time performance. Over the past five years, Copa’s average on-time performance was 88.9%.

Flying more, but getting better

In 2012, we tracked 112,718 flights for Copa and by 2016 this number rose to 122,802 flights. Adding 10,000 new flights could have put a strain on Copa’s operations; however, the opposite seems to be true. As Copa evolves, its performance only becomes stronger. The most drastic increase in flights occurred between 2012 and 2013 when Copa added almost 7,000 flights in a single year. Rather than seeing a decline in on-time arrivals, Copa’s performance increased by 2.68%.

Additionally, it seems as though Copa has a good record of completing its scheduled flights. In the past five years, their completion factor—or the percentage of scheduled flights completed whether on-time of not—has been at least 99.7% or above and actually improved by 0.18% from 2012 to 2016.

A look at their most on-time routes

To calculate the most on-time Copa routes, we pulled the on-time performance data for each individual route over a five-year period. Since airlines typically add and discontinue routes over time, we only included routes that have been in existence for the entire five-year period in our overall analysis.

According to our data, Copa has replicated its process for achieving high on-time performance across each of its routes and has maintained consistency throughout the years. Year over year, at least a quarter of Copa’s flights had 90% or above on-time arrival.

Of all its routes, Copa’s flights from Viru Viru International Airport (VVI) in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia to Tocumen International Airport (PTY) in Panama City, Panama were the most on-time with an average on-time arrival of 96.95%, followed by:

  • Managua, Nicaragua (MGA) to Panama City, Panama (PTY): 96.26%
  • Managua, Nicaragua (MGA) to San José, Costa Rica (SJO): 95.79%
  • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (SDQ) to Panama City, Panama (PTY): 95.47%
  • Havana, Cuba to Panama City, Panama (PTY): 95.34%

It’s very clear that if you’re flying into Panama City, then you should fly Copa. For the past five years, nearly all of Copa’s top routes have all been those traveling into Tocumen International Airport, Panama City, Panama.

Copa airlines routes

Best days to fly with Copa

To calculate Copa’s most on-time day of the week, we averaged the on-time performance for each day across the five-year period. So from 2012 to 2016, Copa flights operated on Wednesday had an average 89.5% on-time arrival. Each day of the week has an average on-time performance of at least 87%, with most days being 88% or higher.

After reviewing our on-time performance data for each day of the week, we noticed that on-time performance on Saturday has seen the most significant improvement. In 2012, on-time performance was 84.35% and in 2016 it was 91.97%. Additionally, each day of the week has seen anywhere from a 1% to a 7% increase in on-time performance over the past five years.

Why you should get OTP data from a third party

When an airline makes a statement about their own operations, they’re often met with skepticism. With all due respect to airlines, many people are distrusting by nature and often doubt that airlines will report accurate information. It can prevent a lot of headaches to use a company like FlightStats to report on-time performance metrics.

Both airlines and their customers can trust that we will report an accurate, reliable ranking of flight status information. This is especially useful to airlines that want to make on-time performance commitments to their corporate customers or tout their impressive on-time performance ranking in marketing materials. Using a third party source like FlightStats provides instant credibility.

Accomplishing more with OTP

Our free monthly on-time performance reports and annual OPS Awards are just the beginning of what you can access. We offer an OTP Analysis Workbook that provides a comprehensive and granular analysis of key performance metrics. These workbooks include visualizations and reports focusing on airline and alliance benchmarking, departure and arrival statistics, trend analysis, carrier performance comparison, and daily/hourly analysis. Reviewing these metrics will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your airline and your competitors. With our data, you can continue to improve your operations and maybe even win our OPS Awards next year. Stay tuned for more five-year on-time performance reviews in the coming weeks.