By Bob Weiss, Travel Contributor

BOSTON (CBS)  – Logan Airport promotion reached new heights on April 10,  when Copa Airlines came to town.

The airline will begin flights from Boston to South America through its hub in Panama City.

Daily flights begin on July 10 leaving Logan at 9:54 a.m. with the return flight arriving in Boston at 6:16 p.m. in Terminal E.

Boston is the largest U.S. market without service to Latin America. Copa Airlines currently has flights from Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando and Washington to its Panama hub.

The airline is traded on The New York Stock Exchange and is part of The Star Alliance. The aircraft will be Boeing 737-800 planes. Copa carried 10.1 million passengers last year.

Copa Airlines CEO, Pedro Heilbron and top members of his marketing team attended a morning business reception at The State House hosted by Massport. Governor Deval Patrick attended and welcomed the airline to Boston.

In the afternoon, East Boston Neighborhood Health and Massport hosted a reception for the Spanish community at EBNHC’s new building in Maverick Square. The Spanish media was present.

“It’s the first time opening six markets in the U.S. that a governor has welcomed us,” said Heilbron. “We are very pleased with the reception that we received.“ The CEO stayed in East Boston for half an hour answering questions.

The airline serves 65 destinations in 29 countries. It offers free meals and drinks on its flights.

Heilbron told the story that when flight attendants came through the cabin on U.S. flights offering the meals, many passengers refused them because they thought there was a fee.

An announcement by flight personnel indicating the meals were free brought smiles to the faces of passengers.

Copa Airlines is part of the Star Alliance that includes United Airlines.

In addition to the Massport promotion, The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism will spend $250,000 to the travel trade to promote this new service.

In a related development, Alex Richman has moved from the Governor’s staff this month in a newly created position of Trade & Tourism Project Manager at Massport. C

Copa Airlines plans to have a regional sales manager in place here by the end of the month and to also fill staff positions at Logan Airport.

Travel reports by Bob Weiss can be heard on WBZ News Radio

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