Air Panama

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This article is about the current airline. For the 1968-1990 airline of a similar name, see Air Panamá Internacional.
Air Panama
Air Panama 2008 Logo.png
Founded 1980 (as PARSA)
Hubs Albrook "Marcos A. Gelabert" International Airport
Focus cities Enrique Malek International Airport
Frequent-flyer program Todos Quieren Volar
Fleet size 23
Destinations 24
Company slogan We Are Flying!
(Estamos Volando!)
Parent company PARSA, S.A.
Headquarters Albrook "Marcos A. Gelabert" International Airport
Key people George Novey
(President and CEO)[1]

Air Panama is a regional airline with headquarters located at Albrook "Marcos A. Gelabert" International Airport in Panama,[2]and is currently the second largest airline in the country, surpassed only by Copa Airlines.

Air Panama offers scheduled and chartered passenger flights to 24 destinations out of its hub at Gelabert International Airport, mostly on domestic routes with low passenger volumes.

Currently, the airline employs more than 200 people.



An former Air Panama Fokker 70 aircraft.

The airline was founded in 1980 as PARSA, though certain services were operated as Turismo Aéreo. At the time of its start-up, Panama had been ruled by a military dictatorship government since 1968 and the financial situation of the country was critical.

However, together with Aeroperlas and Mapiex Aereo, the airline became one of the biggest regional airlines in the country. On December 20, 1989, during the United States invasion of Panama, two Britten-Norman Islander aircraft owned by PARSA that were out of service due to the suspension of revenue service in the country were damaged beyond repair in the crossfire and they were written off.

During the 1990s, the airline expanded rapidly to other destinations around Panama and Costa Rica, and began to acquire newer aircraft. However, on New Year's Eve 1997, the airline suffered its first fatal accident, when a Britten-Norman Islander crashed into the jungle 6.5 kilometres short of Rio Sidra Airport, Darien, killing all on board.

In January 1999, the company moved its headquarters to the new Albrook "Marcos A. Gelabert" international airport, when the old airport located in Paitilla was shut down after 70 years of operation. In 2005, the rights to the Air Panama name were acquired. The name had been unused since the demise of Air Panamá Internacional in January 1990, and the new name was formally adopted in 2006.

Expansion Years[edit]

An Air Panama Twin Otter (2008)

After the purchase of the trademark in 2005, George Novey unveiled the airline's new logo and brand image under the Air Panama name. Shorter after this, the airline started scheduled services to other regional destinations around Panama and it began to acquire more modern turboprop aircraft such as the Saab 340 and the Bombardier Dash 8-300 series for replacing its aging fleet of British Aerospace Jetstream 31 and Fokker F27 Friendship aircraft.

By the end of 2009, Air Panama made a milestone in terms of passengers carried, when it transported more than a million passengers around the country.

Between August and September 2010, the airline entered to the jet age when it ordered and received two Fokker 70s.

In 2011, the company acquired two Fokker 50s from Scandinavian Airlines System and transported around 172,154 people.

In January 2012, the company entered into a codeshare agreement with Copa Airlines, Panama's flag carrier and largest airline, linking all tourist destinations within Panama with those in Latin America. The agreement became effective on June 2012 when the airline started regional flights to Isla Colon from Tocumen International Airport.[3]

An Air Panama Boeing 737-300 taxiing at the runway of Rio Hato Airport.

In February 2012, competitor Aeroperlas Regional announced the suspension of operations in Panama starting from 29 February 2012, leaving Air Panama as the sole regional carrier in the country.[4]

In the same month, Air Panama planned to open a new non-stop international route from Panama to the Cayman Islands (located in the western Caribbean Sea) using jet-powered aircraft. As of June 2013, the airline is awaiting the approval of both the Panamanian and Cayman Island aeronautical authorities for these scheduled passenger flights.[5][6] In anticipation, the airline ordered two additional Fokker 100s.

On June 11, 2012, the first of the two Fokker 100s ordered by the airline was introduced into the fleet.[7] Furthermore, the airline filled the gap left by the bankruptcy of Aeroperlas almost six months earlier by taking the rest of the destinations left by the defunct company.[8]

On August 24, 2012, the second Fokker 100 was delivered and entered into revenue service.

On November 7, 2012, the airline launched an updated version of its website (, with a new operational system that allows travelers to buy tickets in real time, and see the flight schedules and status. It was the first time that Air Panama made an extensive overhaul to its website since its official re-branding in 2006.

In 2013, the two Fokker 70s owned by the airline were sold and replaced by more spacious Fokker 100s. [9][10]

On August 8, 2013, Air Panama received its first Boeing 737-300 as part of a strategic expansion plan into the international market. The event received massive media attention, because it was the first time in history of Panamanian aviation that a full sized airliner landed at Albrook Airport.[11][12] Three months later, on November 8, the airline received its second Boeing 737 aircraft. [13]


Air Panama offers scheduled regional flights to 20 destinations inside Panama, one in Costa Rica and one in Colombia. Further destinations are served on a chartered on-demand basis during the summer travelling season.


As of December 2014, the Air Panama fleet consists of the following aircraft:[14][15]

Air Panama Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
J Y Total
Boeing 737-300QC 2 -
Britten-Norman Islander 4 -
Cessna 182 1 -
Cessna 208 Caravan 2 -
DHC 6-300 Twin Otter 2 -
Fokker 50 4 -

Fokker 100 3 2
Piper PA-34 Seneca 1 -
Saab 340B 2 -
Used only as standby aircraft
Total 23 2

Aircraft types previously operated by Air Panama: BAe Jetstream 32, Fokker F27 Friendship (passenger), Bombardier Dash 8-300, Fokker 70.

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Air Panama has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:

*The codeshare to Copa Airlines is actually an interline agreement.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

During its 32-year history, Air Panama (PARSA) had the following incidents and accidents:

Air Panama Reported Incidents
Flight Date Aircraft Location Description Casualties
Fatal Serious Minor Uninjured Ground
N/A[16] December 31, 1997 Britten-Norman Islander near Rio Sidra Airport, Darien On New Year Eve 1997 at 07:45 local time, a PARSA Britten-Norman Islander (registered HP-986PS) crashed into a jungle area 6.5 kilometres short of Rio Sidra Airport following a flight from Panama City in bad weather conditions. All 9 passengers and the pilot lost their lives. It was the first crash of the company since its foundation in 1980. 10 0 0 0 0
N/A[17] December 29, 2002 Britten-Norman Islander Over the Caribbean Sea, near Bocas Del Toro On 29 December 2002 at 16:06 local time, ATC lost contact with a PARSA Britten-Norman Islander (registered HP-1016PS) was lost during an empty ferry flight from Bocas del Toro to Panama City, when the aircraft was over the Caribbean Sea. The aircraft and its pilot were never found. 1 0 0 0 0
680[18] June 1, 2006 Jetstream 31 Bocas del Toro "Isla Colón" International Airport On 1 June 2006 at 07:55 local time, a British Aerospace Jetstream (registered HP-1477PST) operated by the airline, overshot the runway upon landing at Bocas del Toro "Isla Colón" International Airport after heavy rain completing a flight from Panama City. The aircraft was substantially damaged, but all 16 passengers and 2 crew members walked out from the wreckage without any injuries. The plane was written-off. 0 0 0 16 0
980[19] October 31, 2007 Fokker F27-200 Albrook "Marcos A. Gelabert" International Airport On Halloween Day 2007 at 20:40 UTC, a Fokker F27 Friendship (registered HP-1541PST) bound for Bocas del Toro "Isla Colón" International Airport for a scheduled passenger flight, crashed back on the runway at Albrook "Marcos A. Gelabert" International Airport when it did not gain enough height upon take-off due to lack of power from the engines. All 9 passengers and 4 crew member survived without injuries and walked out from the wreckage. The aircraft was damaged beyond economical repair and it was written-off. 0 0 0 9 0


  1. ^ "Management". Air Panama. 
  2. ^ "Contact us." Air Panama. Retrieved on April 18, 2012. "Marcos A. Gelabert, Airport- Main Office" and "Air Panama - Panama Travel Expert. Panama Tourism. Aeropuerto Marcos A. Gelabert, Albrook Panama, Republic of Panama. "
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Aeroperlas Shuts Down - As Of Today
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ [4]
  8. ^ [5]
  9. ^ [6]
  10. ^ [7]
  11. ^ [8]
  12. ^ [9]
  13. ^ [10]
  14. ^ Air Panama fleet list at the Aero Transport Database
  15. ^ Air Panama: Our fleet
  16. ^ "1997 PARSA crash at the Aviation Safety Network". Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  17. ^ "2002 PARSA crash at the Aviation Safety Network". Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Air Panama 2006 accident at the Aviation Safety Network". Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Air Panama 2007 accident at the Aviation Safety Network". Retrieved July 4, 2012. 

External links[edit]