With the recent announcement by British Airways CEO Willie Walsh of twice weekly flights between London and San Juan (Puerto Rico) from March 2011, the number of British travellers to Panama is expected to increase in 2011.
The range of direct flights from Europe to Panama has doubled. Iberia launched 4 direct flights from Madrid to Panama and KLM has now 6 direct flights from Amsterdam to Panama, and is expected to add a 7th flight by March 2011. Condor Airlines just launched a flight on a weekly basis, from Frankfurt to Panama.
Panama has become the most important air hub in the Americas having been declared by IATA the 8th hub of global importance, in relation to the country’s GDP.
Ernesto Orillac, Senior Advisor to the Panama Tourist Board, said: “Air connectivity is for Panama the main base of its global marketing campaign. The announcements and the new routes launched in 2009 and 2010 by Iberia, KLM and Condor Airlines show the commitment and interest from both the public and private sectors to further develop the potential of Panama as a leading tourist destination. The new route to San Juan will allow British travellers to get to our country by way of cruise ships and Copa Airlines. This is great news for us as the UK is a priority market for our European PR and marketing campaign to be launched in 2011. Our goal is to keep working on air connectivity and to soon have direct flights from London to Panama City together with British Airways.”
John Mohan, Commercial and Planning Vice President of Copa Airlines recently said: “The awareness of Panama as a leading destination in the region is growing fast. For our company, being based in a strategic location as is Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, gives us convenient connections to markets such as North and South America and the Caribbean, enabling us to consolidate traffic to serve key destinations like Europe. Copa has recently joined Star Alliance giving us access to 1292 new destinations around the world, a big step for us and for Panama as a country”.
Iberia offers 4 direct flights per week and KLM has increased its flights from 4 to 6 direct flights per week, adding a 7th flight by March 2011, operating the route on a daily basis. Condor Airlines offers a flight Frankfurt – Panama, once a week.
British Airways has also recently announced additional increases to the Caribbean in the next few months, including Barbados and St Lucia.