Two weeks ago, The Visitor broke the story of Copa Airlines returning to the domestic travel market by flying between Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport and David, Chiriquí’s Enrique Malek Airport starting January 15, 2015. Copa will employ Embraer-190 craft with capacity for 94 passengers (10 in executive class and 84 in coach) flying twice daily.
Company CEO, Pedro Heilbron explained: “It is Copa Airline’s great pride to return to operations within the country. With these flights, we support the National Government’s focus in developing tourism and growth in Chiriquí.” Copa’s incursion in the domestic market comes as a response to encouragement by President Juan Carlos Varela for the airline to unite Chiriquí with Tocumen. Presidential involvement notwithstanding, Air Panama, which already services the route, has voiced strong opposition to the proposed Copa flights.
On the heels of Copa Airline’s announcement, Air Panama’s legal team has requested that Copa demonstrate that 60% of its shares are in the hands of Panamanian investors in order to prove it meets the requirements established by laws governing the aeronautics sector. Pilots working for Air Panama have also voiced their opposition to Copa’s move, claiming their jobs are at stake.
Itinerary / Itinerario
Panama City – David, Chiriquí
Ciudad de Panamá – David, Chiriquí
Morning flights / Vuelo en la mañana
Departs / Sale PTY 7:55 a.m. Arrives / Llega David 8:59 a.m.
Departs / Sale David 9:29 a.m. Arrives / Llega PTY 10:20 a.m.
Afternoon flights / Vuelo en la tarde
Departs / Sale PTY 5:32 p.m. Arrives / Llega David 6:36 p.m.
Departs / Sale David 7:06 p.m. Arrives / Llega PTY 7:57 p.m.
The turbulence has not yet settled, but that has not stopped Copa from releasing its proposed itinerary, scheduled for mid-January 2015. According to sources, Copa’s service will soon be extended to include a stop at the Scarlett Martínez Airport in Río Hato, thus supporting economic growth for both the regions of Coclé and Chiriquí.