Logan International Airport will begin nonstop service to Latin America when Copa Airlines starts flying between Boston and Panama City July 10. The 5 ½-hour flight will depart from Boston just before 10 a.m. each day on a 124-seat Boeing 737.
Boston is the largest US market without a nonstop flight to Latin America. In 2011, more than 400,000 passengers flew between Boston and the more than 50 cities in Central and South America that Copa serves out of its hub in Panama City.
“Our new partnership with Copa Airlines grows the global reach of Boston and Logan by connecting New England with Latin America,’’ said Thomas Glynn, chief executive of the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan.
Currently, the majority of Boston passengers traveling to Latin America connect in Miami. This means navigating a crowded airport and dealing with TSA and Customs agents. Connecting in Panama City will be a more pleasant experience, travel industry experts say.
“The connecting service through Panama City is so much easier and so seamless that it’s like the next best thing to having nonstop service into Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia,” said Patrick Moscaritolo, president of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Brazil, in particular, is an important market for Boston, said Betsy Wall, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. Not only are many of the state’s residents from Brazil, she said, but it’s one of the three fastest-growing markets for visitors to the United States, after China and India.
“The numbers of travelers from Brazil is growing exponentially, and every destination in the world is competing for them,” she said.