|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (October 2010)|
|Founded||1980 (as PARSA)|
|Hubs||Albrook "Marcos A. Gelabert" International Airport|
|Focus cities||Enrique Malek International Airport|
|Frequent-flyer program||Todos Quieren Volar|
|Company slogan||We Are Flying!
|Parent company||PARSA, S.A.|
|Headquarters||Albrook "Marcos A. Gelabert" International Airport
|Key people||George Novey
(President and CEO)
Air Panama (formerly Turismo Aéreo) is a regional airline based at Albrook "Marcos A. Gelabert" International Airport in Panama, and is currently the second largest airline in the country, surpassed only by Copa Airlines. The carrier offers scheduled and charter passenger flights to 24 destinations from its hub at Gelabert International Airport, mostly on domestic routes with low passenger volumes.
Currently, the airline employs more than 200 people.
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 grounded due to the suspension of revenue service in the country were damaged beyond repair in fighting actions. Despite this, the airline expanded rapidly to other destinations around Panama and Costa Rica during the 1990's, and began to acquire newer aircraft.
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, PARSA 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 Air Panama trademark rights were acquired. The name had been unused since the demise of Air Panamá Internacional in January 1990, and the new name was formally adopted that year.
After the purchase of the trademark rights in 2005, George Novey unveiled in a Fokker F27 aircraft the airline's new corporate identity under the Air Panama name. Shortly after, the airline introduced new scheduled services to other regional destinations around Panama and it began to acquire modern turboprop aircraft, such as the Saab 340 and the Bombardier Dash 8-300 series, in order to replace the aging fleet of British Aerospace Jetstream 31 and Fokker F27 Friendship aircraft.
In 2009, Air Panama made a historic milestone when it transported more than a million passengers. That same year, the airline entered the jet age when it acquired two Fokker 70s. In 2011, the company acquired two Fokker 50s owned by Scandinavian Airlines System and transported around 172,154 people.
On January 2012, Air Panama announced 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 five months later when the company started charter regional flights to Isla Colon from Tocumen International Airport.
On February 29, 2012, domestic competitor Aeroperlas Regional ceased operations due to financial problems, leaving Air Panama as the sole regional carrier in the country. In the same month, the company 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 February 2015, the service is awaiting government approval. In anticipation, the airline ordered two Fokker 100s, receiving the first one in June and the second two months later. Furthermore, Air Panama filled the gap left by the Aeroperlas bankruptcy almost six months earlier by taking the rest of the routes left by the defunct company.
On November 2012, Air Panama launched an updated version of its website (www.flyairpanama.com), with a new operational system that allows travelers to purchase tickets in real time, and see the flight schedules and status. It was the first time that the airline made an extensive overhaul to its website since its official re-branding in 2006.
In 2013, Air Panama subsequently sold the two Fokker 70s, in favour of more spacious Fokker 100s. In August of the same year, the airline received its first of two Boeing 737-300 ordered as part of a strategic expansion plan into the international market. Three months later, on November 8, Air Panama received its second Boeing 737 aircraft.
In 2015, the airline received two more Fokker 100 aircraft.
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.
|Cessna 208 Caravan||2||-||
|Piper PA-34 Seneca||1||-||
Aircraft types previously operated by Air Panama: BAe Jetstream 32, Fokker F27 Friendship (passenger and cargo), Bombardier Dash 8-300, Fokker 70, Saab 340B, de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter.
Accidents and incidents
During its history, Air Panama (PARSA) had the following incidents and accidents:
|N/A||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||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||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) skidded and overshot the runway upon landing in heavy rain at Bocas del Toro "Isla Colón" International Airport after completing a scheduled 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||October 31, 2007||Fokker F27-200||Albrook "Marcos A. Gelabert" International Airport||On 31 October 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 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 written-off.||0||0||0||9||0|
- "Management". Air Panama.
- "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."
- Aeroperlas Shuts Down - As Of Today
- Air Panama fleet list at the Aero Transport Database
- Air Panama: Our fleet
- "1997 PARSA crash at the Aviation Safety Network". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- "2002 PARSA crash at the Aviation Safety Network". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- "Air Panama 2006 accident at the Aviation Safety Network". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- "Air Panama 2007 accident at the Aviation Safety Network". Retrieved July 4, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Air Panama.|
- Official website (English)