In the News from Panama

Plan Calls for Expansion of Panama Pacifico Airport

A proposal to expand the Panama Pacifico airport could lead to 3 million passengers a year flying through the facility located in the master-planned project on the west side of the Panama Canal.

The airport currently serves about 300,000 passengers a year, primarily through the budget airline Wingo. The two-year-old carrier recently announced it transported 21 percent more passengers in 2018 than 2017, reaching a total of 1.8 million passengers. The number of Panama flights increased by 10 percent.

The concept of expanding the airport is part of the Panama Canal master plan, Carmen Carrizo de Pagés, vice president of Planning and Strategy of the Tocumen International Airport, told El Capital Financiero. Tocumen SA, which operates the facility, is in negotiations to expand the hangers and terminal, in a project budgeted at $80 million.

“Several airlines with similar models to those of Wingo have expressed interest in operating at Panama Pacifico International Airport,” Carrizo de Pages told the paper. Panama Pacifico is a likely home for the low-cost airlines, providing an alternative to the Tocumen International Airport, he said. Around the world, the market for low-cost airlines is growing between 20 percent and 25 percent a year, he noted.

Carrizo de Pages also shared interesting data on the airport business in Panama, including word that the number of Chinese visitors coming to Panama for business increased 30 percent in 2018, providing evidence of the impact of Panama’s growing relationship with China.

Demand is increasing for connections around the country. Traffic in and out of Enrique Malek International Airport in David increased 80.2 percent from 2014-2017, from 150,000 to 270,291, according to El Capital Financiero. The number of passengers through the Río Hato airport jumped 400 percent to more than 62,000 passengers in 2017, the paper reports.

Image Credit: SkyscraperCity