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Yesterday, in a speech about the Hub of the Americas, organized by the IATA, Bárcenas stated that 1.5 million travelers are moving from Tocumen International Airport to the United States, 334,000 from and to Colombia, and approximately 152,000 from Venezuela, among other destinations, according the studies conducted by the IATA.
‘Tocumen is the main point of connection to North America, Central America, and South America, and one third of the passengers who pass through this airport are in transit,’ according to the international body expert. Statistics from the Tocumen International Airport, S.A. indicate that 5 million travelers are utilizing this terminal, which also has at least $500 million in assets.
According to the IATA, the Hub of the Americas (point of transport connectivity) of Panama has provided the country an estimated economic benefit of $1,035 million in relation to its Gross Domestic Product; out of these, at least $340 million are related to tourist staff salaries and $114 million will be taxes for the State. In regard to the Hub of the Americas, both the Consultant Felipe Chapman and the Executive Carlos Alvarado from Copa Airlines stated that ‘it is a blessing for Panama,’ as its economic wealth permeates the country in many ways: one being the generation of employment.
In this regard, Copa Airlines, one of the most vibrant Panamanian companies listed on the American Stoke Exchange, affirmed that for every plane put into circulation, 100 direct and indirect jobs are generated. Carlos Alvarado, Emergency Management Director of Copa Airlines, stated: ‘our company’s vision to grow is based on the American continent. Therefore, the expansion of the Tocumen International Airport is fundamental for both our company and the Panamanian hub.’
Currently, Copa has its head operation center in Panama, and for 2012, it will introduce approximately 13 new Boeing 73-7800 airplanes, which can transport 160 passengers each. Copa’s current fleet is 73 airplanes, and it is projecting a fleet of 90 by 2013. In this regard, Chapman explained the economic relevance of the airline, which has contributed approximately 4% to the country’s GDP for 2009.