September 25, 2023

Copa’s Low-Cost ‘Wingo’ Subsidiary Launches Medellin-Panama Service December 2

The new “Wingo” subsidiary of Copa Airlines announced October 20 that on December 2 it will launch four-times-a-week, non-stop service from Medellin’s international airport (MDE) to Panama Pacifico airport.

The only other “low-cost” airline flying from MDE to Panama Pacifico — a former U.S. Air Force Base in the Panama Canal zone — is Medellin-based VivaColombia. However, VivaColombia’s current round-trip tariff for MDE-Panama-MDE for early December was quoted on its web site at 63% higher than the tariff quoted by Wingo for relatively comparable non-stop flights.

Panama Pacifico is six miles southwest of Balboa, at the southern end of the Panama Canal, with land transport connections to Panama City via the nearby Bridge of the Americas.

Tariff information posted on the Wingo web site for early December shows that a round-trip ticket including one piece of carry-on luggage would cost COP$414,375 (US$141.43). However, adding a regular piece of luggage for carrying in the plane’s belly would add another COP$150,000 (US$51), plus COP$30,000 (US$10.25) administrative fee, thus bringing total round-trip cost to COP$594,375 (US$202.85).

Wingo flights leave MDE at 11:52 a.m. and arrive at Panama Pacifico at 1:13 p.m., while the return from Panama to MDE leaves at 2 p.m. and arrives at MDE at 3:18 p.m., according to Wingo.

For those wanting to connect onward to San Jose (Costa Rica), Wingo has a five-days-a-week service (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday) leaving Panama at 9:28 a.m. — too early for connection from Medellin, hence requiring an overnight stay in Panama.

The return from San Jose to Panama arrives in Panama at 1 p.m., leaving barely an hour to make the Wingo flight connection to MDE, departing Panama at 2 p.m.

The competing tariff offered by VivaColombia — non-stop round-trip flights between MDE and Panama Pacifico in early December — was quoted on the VivaColombia web site at COP$770,137 (US$262.85) with one carry-on luggage, or COP$940,137 (US$320.90) if including the of COP$170,000 (US$58) extra charge for one regular piece of luggage to be carried in the belly of the plane.

On the other hand, Air Panama’s non-stop flights between MDE and Panama City (Albrook Airport) for similar early December flights were quoted at COP$661,710 (US$225.85) – just US$20 more than the Wingo round-trip flights once including the Wingo charge for carrying luggage in the plane’s belly.

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