Rafael Bárcenas, director of the Civil Aviation Authority (AAC), said that the company has informed them that both projects will be simultaneously delivered in the second semester of the year. Construction of both terminals has a combined cost of $110 million.
The Río Hato airport, in the province of Coclé, is 36% finished. A tunnel has already been built underneath the runway large enough to let pass a B757/200 aircraft, with capacity to transport 180 to 200 passengers.
Although it is not expected to have an immediate impact on domestic tourism, businessmen point out the Río Hato airport makes it easy for tourists to reach the Pacific beaches, a site of investment for million-dollar projects. When the airport construction was announced, airlines like the Canadian Air Transat expressed their interest in setting up charter flights to Río Hato.
AIRPORT IN COLON
Market studies indicate that the Enrique Jiménez airport in Colón, now 80% built, will receive a significant number of passengers during the cruise season at the home port of Colón 2000. Currently, tourists who arrive in the country to embark one of the two cruises that sail from Panama must first land at Tocumen International Airport and then travel by road to the cruise port in Colón.
The main market for the airport will be commercial flights for businesspeople who conduct business in the Colón Duty Free Zone. Bárcenas indicated that they project to hire around 200 workers to manage both airports.
In the country there are five international airports: Tocumen, Marcos A. Gelabert (Albrook), Howard (Arraiján) and Enrique Malek (Chiriquí). A $27 million investment to expand the capacity of the latter airport was recently completed and handed over to the State. Airports in Río Hato and David, which along with Colón will operate three runways with a 25-year lifespan, will have the capacity to receive aircraft carrying up to 228 passengers.