VivaColombia cutting Panama flights

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VIVACOLOMBIA  the low-cost airline is planning to cut its  flights to and from Panama to four a week  from seven as it continues is squabble  over the Panama Pacifico Airport departure tax.

The Colombian company said Tocumen, S.A., which manages the facility, raised the departure tax from $15 to just over $35, an increase of 135 percent.

Juan Emilio Posada, manager of the company said that the airline is paying for inferior facilities, including baggage  handling and immigration and customs service that can cause long delays for arriving passengers.

Posada says that the increase was the reason flight occupancy dropped from 72 percent to 48 percent in the last five months of 2015.

Joseph Fidanque III, manager of Tocumen, S.A., countered that devaluation of the Colombian currency against the dollar has significantly affected the flow of passengers from the neighboring country.

“All the airlines that operate in our country have perceived a decline in passengers from Colombia,” he said.

The proposal of the airline to lower the airport tax to $20 “ is not possible, since the revenue is intended for infrastructure improvement.”

At Tocumen International Airport, the departure tax is $50 per passenger. At Marcos. A. Gelabert Airport in Albrook it is $20.

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