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Marcos A. Gelabert airport’s big move
The construction of the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal, a project tied to the building of Metro Line 3 towards Panama Oeste, will impact land and air transport services in the City. Because of the expected stress the project will have on traffic flow along one of the City’s main arteries, the project is now calling for the removal of the Marcos A. Gelabert Airport from its present location in Albrook to the aircraft facilities of Panama Pacifico, formerly the Howard U.S. Air Force base.
The idea behind the fourth bridge over the Canal is to link vehicular traffic to the area in Albrook that connects to the Corredor Norte toll road in order to alleviate traffic congestion on the Bridge of the Americas all the way to Avenida de los Martires. According to experts, the flight facilities of Panama Pacifico are more spacious and in better condition than their counterpart in Albrook, a location that does not permit the construction of new hangars due to a lack of room.
This concerns Air Panama, the domestic airline whose operations are based out of Albrook, as well as a host of privately owned light aircraft and jets that make use of the terminal and its hangars.
While a definite date has not been set, reports indicate that the airport’s move from Albrook to Panama Pacifico will take place before 2019. Some of the vacated area in Albrook is already destined for a new “logistics enclave” servicing the ports and railroad of the Panama Canal.
It is also unclear if operational control of the Marcos A. Gelabert Airport will transfer to Tocumen SA, current manager of the Panama Pacifico airport, or if its operation will remain with the Civil Aeronautics Authority (Autoridad Aeronáutica Civil), present manager of the Albrook airport location.