December 14, 2018

Reinventing Pilot Training for Copa Airlines

Case Study
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Today, Copa Airlines—headquartered in Panama City—operates one of the most cost-efficient hubs in Latin America. Before it enlisted help from TRU Simulation + Training, however, Copa’s momentum for growth was restricted due to the high costs associated with inefficient pilot training. Learn how TRU stepped in, crafting a Total Training Solution for Copa’s needs to increase productivity and significantly cut costs.

Project Brief: Copa Airlines

Copa Airlines took advantage of the TRU Train@Home model to increase their cost-efficiency. 

  • 99%+ Up Time for Training Devices
  • 100% Training Needs Covered with Train@Home

The Real Costs of Traditional Training

Copa Airlines was hampered by the steep costs of sending pilots to train in U.S. locations, in addition to the time commitment of coordinating visas for trainees. To sustain its double-digit growth, the airline needed to make a dramatic change to its training process—all while maintaining a high standard for safety and productivity. While some airlines with these challenges may choose to install an on-site Level-D full flight simulator for training, TRU assessed Copa’s operations and found a smarter solution.

TRU’s Customized Approach

The elevated lifecycle costs and upfront capex required for a Level-D full flight simulator were cost-prohibitive for Copa ’s situation. So TRU recommended the specialized Train@HomeTM model, which allowed Copa to install a TRU 737NG Level-B full flight simulator. With a world-class simulator on-site, Copa no longer had to pay for pilots to travel to another country. State-of-the-art training covering 100 percent of their needs was now on-site at its Panama Hub. The simulator also covered 100 percent of the airline’s recurrent requirements.


Better Technology for Long-Term Productivity

TRU equipped the Level-B simulator with proprietary software and electronic motion cueing systems to address Copa’s unique training requirements. To ensure easy efficiency down the road, the simulator’s technology was flexible for upgrades, allowing Copa to easily convert it to Level-C and eventually Level-Status while meeting all local CAA requirements.

Revolutionary Results

TRU helped empower Copa to reach its potential; the Panama hub continues to expand with revenue growth and improved productivity. By investing in a new $1.8 million facility, Copa is prepared to expand its training capacity by 25 percent, with focuses on pilot training cost-reduction and flight crew productivity improvement.

With its training processes transformed, Copa has increased its fleet by 65 percent in just 10 years—operating 78 737NG and 12 ERJ-190. Now, it operates one of Latin America’s most efficient hubs, with three TRU 737NG Level-D full-flight simulators running approximately 20 hours a day—with more than 99 percent uptime. To round out its training center, Copa also utilizes two 737 NG Cockpit Procedural Trainer devices as well as an ERJ-190 full flight simulator and three Virtual Procedure devices. In 2019, Copa will take possession of the world’s first-ever 737MAX-9 full flight simulator.

The Difference of Total Training Solution

TRU believes all airlines are different, and their training solutions should reflect their needs. That’s why TRU approaches every situation prepared to craft a unique Total Training Solution around that airline’s challenges. This comprehensive training center expertise means airlines can focus on doing business, while TRU handles logistics like ongoing training center management, upgrades, ongoing maintenance, and more.

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Media Contact

Katherine Murphey


About TRU Simulation + Training

TRU Simulation + Training Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, delivers innovative, total aviation training solutions to the commercial and military markets while providing superior technical support and customer service. Headquartered in Goose Creek, S.C., the company is known for its high-fidelity training devices, pilot and maintenance training, military mission training, and aviation training services and support. More information is available at

About Textron Inc

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information, visit: