Air Panama

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Air Panama
Air Panama Logo ESP.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
7P PST Air Panama
Founded1980 (PARSA S.A.)
Commenced operations2005 (2005)
HubsAlbrook "Marcos A. Gelabert" International Airport
Frequent-flyer programPreferential Service
Fleet size18
Company sloganNow Everyone Can Travel
Parent companyPARSA S.A.
HeadquartersPanama City, Panama
Key people
  • George Novey
  • Eduardo Stagg
    (CEO & President)
Employees600 (2015)[1]

Air Panama is a regional airline based at Albrook "Marcos A. Gelabert" International Airport in Panama,[2] and is currently the second-largest air carrier in the country, surpassed only by Copa Airlines. The carrier offers both scheduled and charter passenger flights to more than 31 destinations from its hub at Albrook International Airport.



A former Air Panama Fokker 70 aircraft parked at Albrook - Marcos A. Gelabert International Airport (2011).

The airline was founded in 1980 as PARSA, though certain services were operated as Turismo Aéreo. At the time of its startup, Panama had been ruled by a military dictatorship government since 1968, but together with Aeroperlas, the company became one of the biggest and most prominent airlines in the country. On 20 December 1989, in the wake of the United States invasion of Panama, two Britten-Norman Islander aircraft owned by PARSA were damaged beyond repair in fighting action. Despite this, the airline expanded rapidly to other destinations around Panama and Costa Rica during the 1990s, and began to acquire newer aircraft.

On New Year's Eve 1997, PARSA 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 airline moved its headquarters to the new Albrook - Marcos A. Gelabert International Airport, when the old airport located at 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 PARSA formally adopted the new name that year.

Expansion years[edit]

The Cessna 208 Caravan, used primarily on regional routes across Panama.

After the purchase of the trademark rights in 2005, Chairman George Novey unveiled on a Fokker F-27 aircraft PARSA's new identity Air Panama. Shortly afterward, the airline introduced new scheduled services to other regional destinations around Panama and began to acquire turboprop aircraft such as the Saab 340 and the Bombardier Dash 8-300 series, replacing the aging British Aerospace Jetstream 31 and Fokker F27 Friendship fleet.

In 2009, Air Panama reached a historic milestone when it transported its one millionth passenger. That same year, the airline entered the jet age when it acquired two new Fokker 70s. In 2011, Air Panama bought two used Fokker 50s previously owned by Scandinavian Airlines System and transported around 172,154 people. In 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.[3] As of 2016, this codeshare is no longer active.

Mainly deployed for short-medium haul routes, the Fokker 100 has played a key role in the international expansion of Air Panama.

On 29 February 2012, domestic competitor Aeroperlas Regional ceased operations due to financial troubles, leaving Air Panama as the sole regional carrier in the country.[4] The same month, the airline expressed its interest to open a new non-stop international route from Panama to the Cayman Islands, using jet-powered aircraft.[5][6] In anticipation for these flights, Air Panama ordered two Fokker 100 aircraft, receiving the first one in June and the second two months later. As of February 2015, the planned service to Cayman Islands is on standstill. Furthermore, almost six months after Aeroperlas' bankruptcy, Air Panama assumed all of its domestic routes.[7]

In November 2012, Air Panama launched an updated version of its website (, with a new operational system that allowed travelers to purchase tickets in real time, and to see flight schedules and status. It was the first time the airline extensively overhauled its website since its official rebranding in 2006.

In 2013, Air Panama sold the two Fokker 70s in favour of more spacious Fokker 100s. Between August and November of the same year, the airline acquired two Boeing 737-300s as part of a strategic expansion plan into the international market, which started with the launch of scheduled commercial services to Medellín, Colombia, in June 2014.[8]

In 2015, the airline added three more new Fokker 100 aircraft. In July 2015 the airline began daily non-stop flights from Panama to San José, Costa Rica. Services to Costa Rica from David, Chiriqui are still maintained. On 1 December of the same year, Air Panama started services to Armenia, its second destination in Colombia.


Air Panama offers scheduled regional flights to 31 destinations inside Panama, one in Costa Rica, and three in Colombia. Further destinations are served on a chartered on-demand basis during the summer travelling season.


The Air Panama fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of November 2018):[9]

Air Panama Fokker F50
Air Panama Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
Britten-Norman Islander 4 -
Cessna 208 Caravan 3 -
Cessna 182 1 -
Fokker 50 2

4 stored
Fokker 100 5 4
1 stored
Piper PA-34 Seneca 1 -
Total 18 6

Aircraft types previously operated by Air Panama: BAe Jetstream 32, Boeing 737-300QC, Bombardier Dash 8-300, de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, Fokker F27 Friendship (passenger and cargo), Fokker 70, Saab 340B.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

During its 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[10] December 31, 1997 Britten-Norman Islander Near Rio Sidra Airport, San Blas (Gunayala) 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. Nine passengers and the pilot lost their lives. It was the first crash since the foundation of the company in 1980. 10 0 0 0 0
N/A[11] 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) during an empty ferry flight from Bocas del Toro to Panama City, while the aircraft was over the Caribbean Sea. The aircraft and its pilot were never found. 1 0 0 0 0
680[12] 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 a scheduled flight from Panama City. The aircraft was substantially damaged. The 16 passengers and two crew members evacuated the aircraft without any injuries. The plane was written off. 0 0 0 16 0
980[13] 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, veered off the runway at Albrook "Marcos A. Gelabert" International Airport. All nine passengers and four crew members evacuated the aircraft without injuries. The aircraft was written off. 0 0 0 9 0


  1. ^ "AirPanama | Ahora todos podemos viajar".
  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. ^ "Conectarán Isla Colón con Latinoamérica". La Prensa. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Aeroperlas Shuts Down - As Of Today". Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2012-03-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-19. Retrieved 2012-03-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Air Panamá continuará sola en el mercado". La Prensa. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  8. ^ "NOTICIAS". Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  9. ^ "Viajar a Panamá, Reservaciones online, Pasajes Aereos".
  10. ^ "1997 PARSA crash at the Aviation Safety Network". Retrieved July 4, 2012.
  11. ^ "2002 PARSA crash at the Aviation Safety Network". Retrieved July 4, 2012.
  12. ^ "Air Panama 2006 accident at the Aviation Safety Network". Retrieved July 4, 2012.
  13. ^ "Air Panama 2007 accident at the Aviation Safety Network". Retrieved July 4, 2012.

External links[edit]