American Airlines, Copa Airlines and United Airlines battle for #1 in North-Central America market; capacity up 7% versus last February

Copa Airlines is the leading airline operating non-stop flights between North America and Central America. In the last 12 months, it has launched two new destinations in the US; in June, Boston services began, followed in December by Tampa becoming its ninth US destination. This February, capacity is up over 7% across all non-stop routes between North and Central America.

Scheduled airline seat capacity between airports in North America and Central America is up 7.3% this February when compared with a year ago. The US-Costa Rica market remains the largest, but is being caught by the US-Panama market. The Panama market has had a good 12 months. Apart from US capacity to the country being up 11.3%, scheduled seat capacity from Mexico is up 13.9%, the Canada-Panama market has also seen growth, of 16.3%.

North America - Central America Top 12 airlines by one-way monthly seat capacity (Change from Feb 13 to Feb 14)

Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for February 2013 and February 2014

The only country pair to gain a non-stop service that previously did not have one is Mexico-Belize, which since last March has been served by a non-stop flight between Cancun and Belize City operated daily by Tropic Air, the self-styled ‘Airline of Belize’, with its Cessna Caravans.

Copa Airlines extends lead over its nearest US rivals

Analysis of which airlines offer the most seat capacity on non-stop flights between North and Central America reveals that Panama’s Copa Airlines leads the way from American Airlines and United Airlines. With growth of 14.7%, Copa Airlines has extended its lead over its US rivals. American Airlines is reporting only modest 2.6% capacity growth in the market, while United Airways has actually reduced capacity slightly, by 0.6%.

North America - Central America Top 12 country-pairs by one-way monthly seat capacity (Change from Feb 13 to Feb 14)

Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for February 2013 and February 2014

Ninth ranked JetBlue Airways is the fastest-growing airline in this market (+53%) having added a new daily Fort Lauderdale to San Jose (Costa Rica) in June, to complement its existing Orlando-San Jose, and New York JFK-Liberia services.

Miami and Panama City lead rankings for individual airports

If the capacity flows are analysed at an airport level, then the leading airports in each region, for traffic to the other region, are Miami in North America, and Panama City in Central America. Boston (to Panama City with Copa Airlines in July), Tampa (to Panama City with Copa Airlines from mid-December) and Tapachula (to Guatemala City with Aeromexico in November) all gained their first non-stop links to Central America in the last 12 months. In Central America, no airports were added to the list of those that had non-stop flights to North America.

North American Airport Monthly one-way seats Central American Airport Monthly one-way seats
Miami (MIA) 129,512 Panama City (PTY) 189,052
Houston (IAH) 82,276 San Jose (SJO) 118,171
Mexico City (MEX) 52,503 San Salvador (SAL) 93,554
Atlanta (ATL) 50,320 Guatemala City (GUA) 71,075
Los Angeles (LAX) 42,374 Liberia (LIR) 43,335
New York JFK (JFK) 34,946 Belize City (BZE) 29,674
Cancun (CUN) 30,128 Managua (MGA) 28,408
Newark (EWR) 26,943 San Pedro Sula (SAP) 22,214
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) 25,768 Tegucigalpa (TGU) 11,844
Orlando (MCO) 22,696 Roatan (RTB) 6,072
Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for February 2014

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