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Panama City is RDU's latest international destination, with arrival of Copa Airlines


Nonstop flights to Panama take off Friday from Raleigh-Durham International Airport. It's RDU’s 10th international destination.

Flight 466 from Panama City — a Boeing 737 — is scheduled to land in Raleigh at around 2:30 p.m., according to FlightAware.

“We chose Raleigh-Durham, because there's a window of opportunities for us to increase commerce and tourism and cultural educational exchanges between the two regions,” according to Copa’s North America sales director Dave DeFossey.

He added that Copa’s connections to destinations in Central America and the Caribbean will help immigrant communities in Central North Carolina who want to visit loved ones.

From the airline’s Panama City hub, passengers can catch flights to more than 80 destinations in the Americas.

“Unlike other carriers in their hubs, there is no immigration and no customs to go through in Panama," DeFossey said. "So, anybody who has a connection, as little as 45 minutes to an hour can easily make their connection."

Copa’s arrival comes as RDU is working to add more international connections. German airline Lufthansa began serving the airport earlier this month, while AeroMexico will launch flights to Mexico City in July.

Bradley George is WUNC's AM reporter. A North Carolina native, his public radio career has taken him to Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and most recently WUSF in Tampa. While there, he reported on the COVID-19 pandemic and was part of the station's Murrow award winning coverage of the 2020 election. Along the way, he has reported for NPR, Marketplace, The Takeaway, and the BBC World Service. Bradley is a graduate of Guilford College, where he majored in Theatre and German.