Copa Holdings, the parent of Panama’s Copa Airlines reported a profit of $122 million, up more than one-third from the same quarter in pre-pandemic 2019, driven by “healthy demand”.

The Panama City-headquartered carrier said on 10 May that total revenue during the first three months of the year was $867 million, up 29% from the $672 million reported in the first quarter of 2019.

“Copa Holdings delivered solid financial results for the first quarter of 2023,” the company says. “The company’s results were driven by a healthy demand environment in the region, which led to strong unit revenues in the quarter, and by its consistent cost execution strategy.”

Copa 737 Max 9

Source: Copa Airlines

Copa reports Q1 profit of $122.5 million as demand remains “healthy”

But while revenue rose, the airline’s expenses also increased by 20.5% to $674 million. Of that, jet fuel totalled $266 million, up 56% compared to the same period in 2019, due to a 61.4% higher effective fuel price, and partially offset by 3.7% fewer gallons consumed. 

Capacity as measured in available seat miles (ASMs) rose 2.8% to 6.6 billion, from 6.4 billion in the first quarter of 2019, while load factor rose to 86.8%, up 3.5 percentage points over the same period in 2019. 

Copa took delivery of two Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft during the first three months of the year, ending the period with 99 aircraft: 67 Boeing 737-800s, 22 737 Max 9s, nine 737-700s, and one 737-800 freighter, compared to a fleet of 102 aircraft prior to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Copa will hold an analyst call on 11 May to give more details about its first-quarter earnings results.