The expansion of the Tocumen International Airport, which will firmly establish Panama City as the “Hub of the Americas,” is 73 percent complete, officials said last week.
A new terminal, designed by Foster + Partners, the internationally-acclaimed architect, is expected to ready for operation in the first half of 2018, project head Juan Tuñón told Panama America. The new terminal will have 32 boarding gates, 1,500 free parking spaces and a luggage system capable of handling 7,200 pieces of luggage an hour.
The expansion will play a pivotal role in the development of Panama, serving as a destination and transit center for Latin America. Not only will increased flights increase direct tourism to Panama, more people will be passing through the city on the way to other destinations. Copa is one of fastest growing airlines in the world, and the increased flights make it easier for property owners to visit Panama from around the world.
The new terminal will be fully operational for World Youth Day in 2019, officials say. With the completion of the new terminal, the airport will have a capacity of 25 million passengers and the ability to handle modern aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 and 777, Panama America reports.
The new terminal will have about 116,000-square-meters of space. The construction teams are currently installing the facades to the building. Future plans include a third runway and logistics center, Tuñón said.
In the first quarter of 2017, the airport handled about 3.7 million passengers, an increase of 172, 906 compared to the same period a year ago, Tocumen officials reported earlier this year.