Copa Airlines does not plan to use its soon-to-be-expanded maintenance capabilities to branch out into third-party work, a top executive at the Panama flag carrier said.

“For now, I think that we’re comfortable with [serving] our own needs,” Copa CFO Jose Montero told analysts on a recent earnings call. “I think the plan in the immediate future is just simply to cater to our own requirements in terms of maintenance.”

Copa is building a new hangar at its Tocumen International Airport home base, and expects the facility to be ready in the fourth quarter. It will accommodate three narrowbodies simultaneously. 

The hangar “more than doubles our current capacity in terms of ability to perform heavy checks here locally,” Montero said. “So we will have that expanded capability in the latter part of this year.”

Copa operates Boeing 737-700s and -800s and Embraer E190s, and will begin taking deliveries of 737 MAX-family aircraft later this year. The carrier’s 2018 fleet plan has it operating 106 aircraft by year-end: 19 E190s, 14 737-700s, 68 737-800s and its first five 737-9s.

The new hangar is part of the airline’s strategy to reduce maintenance expenses, in part by handling more of its own work. Other efficiency improvements include installing a new MRO software, IFS Mxi Maintenix, last year. The new $15 million hangar will not just handle airframe MRO, but also will house back-shops and parts storage. It also will serve as a paint shop and will handle certain components, such as landing gear.

Sean Broderick,