Tocumen’s  overpriced Terminal 2 mothballed

Unfulfilled dream or white elephant?

2,098Views 4Comments Posted 01/06/2020

The multi-million dollar  Terminal 2 at Tocumen International Airport, built to cope with the burgeoning traffic flow at the “Hub of the Americas”  will be sidelined in the coming months due to the low passenger that airlines operating o and from Panama will experience.  Only Terminal 1  will be used  for the foreseeable future

On February 29, the sixth addendum that Tocumen granted Odebrecht to complete the expansion works expired, at a cost of $917 million, $238 million above the price agreed in the original 2012 contract.

The rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor's estimate that passenger movement could drop to 55% from 16 million travelers in 2019, which translated into a downgrade of Tocumen's debt rating.

The protocol to be implemented at the airport is still under evaluation by the Ministry of Health (Minsa) and the Civil Aeronautical Authority, but some of the actions that will be implemented once operations resume on  June 23  have been defined.

Only people who are traveling will be allowed to enter the terminal. These will have to wear a mask.

 Two-meter distancing will be enforced. It has already been tested with travelers who have left the country on humanitarian flights. Signs sre placed on the floor to maintain separation in registration and boarding lines.

Some 13 cameras will monitor the temperature of people inside the airport. If an alert is triggered, the person will be isolated and subjected to a review by the medical personnel and will be sent to a health care center.

Passenger traffic in Tocumen decreased 16.3% during the first quarter of the year and  airport is losing $ 21 million a month.

One of the points that the protocol must define is whether arrivals will have to comply with a mandatory quarantine.

Rules for luggage handling have not yet been defined.

Tocumen handled just over 16 million passengers last year, but this year the air terminal will register negative numbers for the first time in the last decade.

In  2019  there was a monthly average of 1.3 million passengers. During the first quarter of 2020, total traffic of 4.1 million was registered, which dropped 16%, after the closure of the terminal on March 22.

Cargo flights
With commercial aviation stopped and commercial contracts are frozen, the only income that the state-controlled corporation is receiving is linked to the cargo segment.

In Tocumen, 17 cargo airlines sre operating, for the movement of medicines to and from Panama and the transfer of perishable goods and items purchased through electronic commerce.

Cargo movement decreased 1% during the first quarter with 37,267 tons, down  308 tons less compared to the movement in the same quarter last year.

Comments 4

Oh ya

Wenny it will be years before it returns to what it was. The virus was not the biggest problem, it was just the pin that popped the everything bubble. The US government was dumping billions into the REPO market every night because banks would not lend to each other even short term (like overnight). The US and thus world economy is crashing. The US government has been buying junk corporate bonds lately trying to keep the wheels on the wagon. Because Panama relies on tourism lots this is going to have a huge impact on the livelihood of lots of people in Panama. There are over 41 million people unemployed in the United States. They are not coming to Panama to visit or invest and the ones still working will be very careful with their dollars

10 months ago

HERE is my question. $238 million above the price agreed, why is that? how can a project that had bids from a few companies be that far off the mark? 238 million, is like o we forgot to charge for 1/3 of the project, sorry our bad. pay us. I have built a lot of things and I understand sometimes something comes up that you didn't count on, but 238 million dollars worth. these companies need to be held accountable for the bid they gave, if you can't do it for that then bid higher.

10 months ago

They put an exit tax on airfare so all they have to do is double or triple it. Don't think they won't.

10 months ago

Yes, the problems Panama's airport is having is the same all over the world. Someday, hopefully in 2021 things will start to return to the old norm and the new wing will be outstanding. Local tourism will start first, then individual tourism, like back packers before group tourism starts again. Studies in Trip Advisor and Airbnb speculate that tourism my only be 64% of normal in 2021 until we find a cure.

10 months ago
The comments are the responsibility of each author who freely expresses his opinion and not that of Newsroom Panama.
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