In the News from Panama

Tocumen Traffic Returning to Pre-Pandemic Levels

In another sign that Panama is recovering from the pandemic, Panama officials this week reported that Tocumen International Airport traffic has returned to 86% of its pre-pandemic levels.

In the first four months of 2022, Tocumen handled 4,691,680 passengers, compared to 5,487,706 travelers in the same period of 2019, according to the new data. Copa Airlines, Panama’s primary carrier, is back to 90% of passengers.

In the first part of 2022, the United States was the largest market with 936,690 travelers; followed by Colombia with 720,203 passengers and Mexico with 402,631.

“We have made significant progress in our recovery plan,” airport general manager Raffoul Arab told reporters. “Although the pandemic persists, we are confident that entry controls will continue to be relaxed at the regional level, and the industry as a whole will continue to approach 2019 levels.”

The data provides further evidence that Panama will lead the regional recovery. Analysts expect the economy to grow more than 6% in 2022, far stronger than many of the biggest economies in the Americas. Panama is emerging as an oasis of economic activity, thanks to its solid foundation.

If current trends continue, Tocumen may close in 2022 with between 13 million travelers and 15 million, compared to 16.5 million in 2019, which would be a solid bounce back, considering the many factors still creating turmoil around the world. 

In other Tocumen news, the airport also announced that Terminal 2 will officially open for operations, most likely by the end of June. COPA will be the first airline to operate from the new terminal (although it will still fly out of Terminal 1; make sure to check when the terminal opens) followed by KLM, the Dutch airline. The new terminal will eventually have three times the immigration and customs areas 

The airport has been “carrying out critical practices and processes that have given us very good results,” Arab said.