Thursday, September 12, 2013

Colón, Panamá finally gets a modern airport

Colón finally gets a modern airport

The newly refurbished Enrique A. Jimenez Airport, in the Atlantic-side Colon province, was inaugurated on Friday August 30 by President Ricardo Martinelli. The works had a cost of $58 million and were carried out by the construction company Meco S.A, allowing landing by Boeing 757-200 aircraft with a capacity of 228 passengers.
The new airport, which was elevated to the international category, will be operated by Tocumen S.A.
It has modern finishings in the terminal building, electric stairs, a waiting room for passengers and a new control tower. The runway has been extended and now measures 2,700 meters long.
Enrique A. Jiménez International Airport
The modern Enrique A. Jiménez International Airport.
Captain Rafael Bárcenas, Director of the Civil Aviation Authority (AAC), said that “Colon province is an important economic and tourist epicenter because of the Colon Free Zone, without forgetting its beautiful beaches.”
The terminal building will have a capacity for 1,000 people entering and leaving the area during the rush hours and has space for car rental companies, duty free shops, restaurants, a cafeteria, administration offices, Customs and clinics with ambulances.
The airport has easy access to the Colon Free Zone and it is expected that international airlines will be interested in operating passenger and cargo routes there. There is also a possibility of charter flights coming from Central and South America to connect with the cruise ships that use the port of Colon 2000 as a home port.
The Enrique A. Jimenez Airport, before its conversion to a civil airport many years ago, was a United States Army (later USAF) military airfield, established in 1918. It was turned over to the Panama Canal Zone government in 1949, and was converted into a civil airport. United States control over the airport ended in 1979 with the turnover of the Panama Canal Zone to the government of Panama.
Barcenas also announced that the Scarlett Martinez Airport, at Rio Hato, will be inaugurated in mid September. Together with those in Colon and Chiriqui, they will improve the connectivity of the country and help transform Panama into the “Hub of the Americas”.
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