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Getting There by Air

Panama - Getting There by Air

Panama's national airline is Copa Airlines, which was founded in 1947. Copa Airlines now flies between Panama and more than 20 other countries, mainly in the Americas. The main base for Copa Airlines is Tocumen International Airport in Panama City and the airline has won several awards for the quality of its service.

Each day more than 140 flights take place to and from Panama on Copa Airlines. Those who want to travel outside the Americas can do so through the airline, which has code share agreements with several airlines including Continental Airlines. The second largest airline in Panama is Aero Republica, which flies mainly from Panama to Colombia, Venezuela.

Tocumen International Airport is the main airport in the country and is located in Panama City. It is situated just 15 miles outside the city and has undergone major expansion works in recent years. The airport is now the only one in the Central American region to have two runways and in terms of the number of passengers handled each year it is the busiest in the region. The main runway is used mainly for commercial flights while the runway of the original airport is now used for cargo planes and some private flights.

Flights are mainly to and from North America, South America, other Central American countries and parts of the Caribbean. For flights to Europe, the cities of Frankfurt, Madrid and Amsterdam can also be reached. The busiest route is that to Bogota in Colombia, followed by flights to Miami. From the main terminal, passengers can take flights on Air Transat to Canada, American Airlines to Dallas and Miami, Continental Airlines to Houston and Newark, Copa Airlines to Los Angeles, New York and Washington, Finnair to Helsinki and KLM to Amsterdam, among others. Those flying from London will need to take a flight to Amsterdam or Madrid and make a connection there. It should be noted that flights to some destinations are seasonal.

Flight times from Panama City to New York are around 5 hours. From London this will depend upon the connection that is made but can be around 14 hours. Those arriving in Panama will find an information desk in the Arrivals area which offers a number of facilities including hotel bookings. The airport has disabled access facilities for those with mobility problems.

Those who need to rent a car will find that there are several outlets based at the Tocumen International Airport including Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz and National. These can all be found in the Arrivals area of the airport. There are a number of public transport options for those who do not want to hire a car. There are a number of bus routes which run between the airport and downtown Panama. The taxi services from the airport are regulated and fares can be pre-purchased. If you are booked into a hotel in Panama then it may be that they run a free shuttle service but details of this can be obtained from the hotel.

David’s Enrique Malek International Airport is located in the city of David in the region of Chiriqui. This airport dates back to 1941 and was built in conjunction with the US in order to defend the Panama Canal, so was mainly used for military purposes in the early days. Around 20,000 passengers use the airport monthly, flying between Panama and Mexico, the US, other Central American countries and Canada although for many destinations there are no direct flights and passengers often find they need to make a connection. There has been some regeneration of the airport in recent years in order to expand operations.

Bocas del Toro International Airport is located on Colon Island in the Bocas del Toro region of Panama. The facilities of this airport are fairly basic when compared with the other airports. There is no taxiway, only a small terminal building and no control tower or runway lights, so the airport operates only from 6 am to 6 pm each day. It is considered to be an international airport as there are regular flights to Costa Rica, although most of the daily flights are internal within Panama and only small aircraft can be handled at the airport. There are some public transport facilities available such as taxi services.

Useful Resources

Copa Airlines

Tocumen International Airport

Read more about this country

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