Copa Airlines (CM, Panamá City Tocumen International) is set to again operate in-house dedicated freighters after more than two decades of absence from the cargo market. Cargo Facts reported that the airline would convert two of its own B737-800s, with the first unit re-entering into service as a B737-800(BCF) by the end of 2021.

The first jet to be converted is HP-1522CMP (msn 33709). At nearly 18 years of age, it is Copa's oldest B737-800 and, after being retired from passenger service on July 7, 2021, Copa ferried it from Panamá City Tocumen International via Los Angeles International, Anchorage Ted Stevens, and Tokyo Haneda to Guangzhou for conversion by Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company Ltd. (GAMECO) over the course of August 16-19, 2021. The airline said it had yet to identify the second aircraft it would convert and did not provide a timeline.

Copa Airlines has not operated in-house dedicated freighters since the retirement of its last B737-200C in mid-2000, the ch-aviation fleets history module shows. It has a cargo interline agreement with freight specialist AeroSucre (KRE, Barranquilla) and plans to continue its partnership with the Colombian airline even once it adds in-house B737-800(BCF)s. Copa Airlines said it would look at converting more B737-800s in the future.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Copa Airlines currently operates sixty-eight B737-800s (including the fleet of Copa Airlines Colombia), of which it owns 41 units. It also has six B737-700s in deep storage but not entirely phased-out. The airline is in the process of replacing them with B737 MAX. It has already taken delivery of thirteen B737-9s and has a further twelve B737-8s, fourteen -9s, and fifteen -10s on firm order from Boeing.