Inside Central America’s Most Modern New Airport Terminal in Panama City

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Central America’s busiest airport is primed to handle even more passengers, thanks to the June debut of Terminal 2 at Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport. It’s especially good news for passengers flying Copa Airlines, the facility’s largest carrier.

The new terminal, which measures some 116,000 square feet, is a welcome and much-needed addition to the bustling airport, with 20 new gates, 38 Copa Airlines ticket counters and 22 self-service kiosks. The new construction brings total airport capacity to 54 gates and 12 remote aircraft parking positions – and, just as importantly, the new facility improves the passenger experience in many ways, as I discovered during my recent visit to Panama.

Travelers passing through Terminal 2 will find a spacious concourse, soaring ceilings and lots of natural light, thanks to the gigantic windows that also provide prime viewing conditions for plane-spotting fanatics like me. Passengers with Panama as their final destination can make use of a sparkling new customs and immigration area, while connecting passengers can browse an ever-growing number of retail shops and refuel at a soon-to-open food court area.

Those looking for additional comforts will find lots to love at the new Copa Airlines Club, a stylish oasis that offers more than 20,000 square feet of space for relaxation and productivity and is described by Copa as Central America’s largest airline club.

PTY Copa Club 85 (photo via Copa Airlines)

With design elements like beautiful tiles that are inspired by a Latin American hacienda, as well as eye-catching photography and even an exhibit of traditional Panamanian hats, the venue is both attractive and highly functional, with a 420-guest capacity and amenities including a bar, food service area and even showers and a business center.

Passengers who are members of the ConnectMiles frequent flyer program with PreferMember Gold, Platinum and Presidential status, as well as passengers traveling in Copa’s Business Class and Star Alliance Gold passengers, have access to the new Copa Club in Terminal 2, as well as the original lounge that still operates in Terminal 1.

Budget-conscious visitors to Panama, meanwhile, will soon find a new option for traveling from Tocumen International Airport into the city. A brand-new rail link is scheduled to debut in early 2023, as an extension of line 2 of Panama City’s Metro system. The Metro station is connected to Terminal 2, close to a pedestrian hallway that links to Terminal 1.

PTY Terminal 2 Hub of the Americas, Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport
PTY Terminal 2 Hub of the Americas (photo via Copa Airlines)

A Strategic Hub for Latin America Travel

While KLM, United Airlines and Air France are in the process of moving operations to the new facility, Terminal 2 is an especially important development for Copa Airlines, which calls Tocumen airport its “Hub of the Americas.” Considering the fact that most passengers passing through Tocumen are connecting to other flights rather than staying in Panama, the increased capacity will likely result in more options for travelers throughout the hemisphere.

Marco Ocando, marketing and frequent flyer program senior director at Copa Airlines, said that the new facilities provide new opportunities for his company. “The new Terminal 2 … is an important component to continue strengthening the competitiveness of the Hub of the Americas, one of the most important connection centers in the region, from where our passengers can connect, through Copa Airlines, with more than 75 cities in 32 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean,” he said.

According to Ocando, passenger numbers continue to increase. “During the pandemic, Copa was completely grounded for nearly six months,” he noted. “However, Latin America has led the industry in terms of passenger demand, and our own recovery has evolved at a faster pace than initially projected. We now expect to be at pre-pandemic seat capacity levels in the second half of 2022 and reach 2019 passenger numbers by the end of the year.”

Copa recently launched new routes to destinations including Atlanta, Georgia; Santa Marta, Colombia; and Barcelona, Venezuela. “We are always looking to expand our network and provide fast and efficient connections through the Hub of the Americas, and the new space will certainly make that possible,” said Ocampo.

In addition to new routes, Copa Airlines is heavily promoting its Panama Stopover program, which relaunched last year. “The program seeks to encourage the more than six million passengers who travel through Panama each year schedule up to seven days to explore our beautiful country with the purchase of just one ticket and without any additional airfare,” Ocampo explained. “Travelers who participate in the Stopover program essentially enjoy two destinations for the price of one.

Source: TravelPulse


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