Heilbron: To date, Copa has lost nearly 800 million dollars due to the pandemic
The CEO of Copa Holding, Pedro Heilbron added that despite the losses they see potential in the country that has begun to recover rapidly in the region.
The CEO of Copa Holding, Pedro Heilbron told Open Debate how difficult it has been for the airline to face the consequences of the pandemic , with the loss of 800 million dollars and the decision-making that they have had to face.
Unlike other airlines that Copa must compete against, Heilbron indicated that some of these, such as those of the United States, have benefited from state aid, which they have not and have had to stand up with their own resources and taking difficult decisions.
"We handled ourselves with discipline and what we had to do at the beginning of the pandemic, well, very, very difficult decisions were made, very complicated, even difficult for our staff, which we know and support in the best possible way, knowing that and not knowing how long this was going to last too. Let's say that because of our strength before we got loans, we launched a 350 million dollar convertible bond that gave us a base of strength, it gave us oxygen to know that we could last quite a long time in this pandemic. and we made business decisions that I think were the correct ones in terms of how we recovered step by step ... To date we have lost about 800 million dollars, we have credit lines, we have made difficult decisions,But now we have to start to recover from the point where we are, close a gap of about 800 million dollars, we have been severely affected and it will take us many years to close that gap and perhaps a couple of years to return to the passengers of before and the income of before ... but we are optimistic, because we see the potential of the country as a hub ”, Heilbron pointed out.
According to the CEO of Copa, Panama has recovered as or faster than countries like Brazil, Colombia and the United States, despite being a small country, unlike other countries that have been very restrictive in the pandemic such as Argentina, Chile and Cuba, where tourism and passenger traffic have been affected.
"By January of this year we had just 38%, we had more or less a third of what we had been pre-pandemic, but growth has been faster than expected and we are optimistic that we will be able to recover to what we were before much faster than we thought just a year ago, "Heilbron said.
Heilbron assures that they have a projection of being above 80% at the end of the year, since growth in the country has been faster than expected.