Copa Colombia plays down domestic growth

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Copa Airlines is not planning to grow its domestic Colombian operations, but is holding off on rolling out more drastic reduction to its network there.

Copa Airlines Colombia, which operates to nine destinations in Colombia as well as a handful of Latin American cities, has gradually reduced its capacity in the past year.

Domestic Colombian capacity was down 15% in 2013 year-on-year, CapStats shows.

Copa has focused most of its growth in recent years on its international flights out of its hub at Panama. Its chief executive Pedro Heilbron reiterates today that Copa Colombia's strategy ties into this, with the Colombian subsidiary focused on feeding the Panama hub. "We are not going to grow domestic. Will we shrink further? It depends on how the market behaves."

Heilbron points out that the domestic Colombian market is "extremely competitive". Copa mostly faces competition from main player Avianca, as well as LAN Colombia.

"We will look at what makes the most sense to the business and we will make that decision when that time comes," says Heilbron.

Copa Colombia already codeshares with Star Alliance partner Avianca on some markets, notes Heilbron, saying that this relationship is very important for the airline.