Panama Tocumen (PTY) Airport

Panama Tocumen PTY Airport Overview

Panama Tocumen International Airport PTY - considered to be an 'Aerometropolis' - is the primary airport of the City & State of Panama, and is Central America's busiest Airport. In the last few years, it has modernized & expanded its terminal facilities, doubling capacity, and adding  a luggage sorting system, platforms, taxiways and new road - while still continuing expansion into the future. Panama Airport is growing by leaps and bounds - with ever increasing passenger counts.

PTY Airport is located 24 km from Panama City, accessible via the South Corridor Toll Road (taking 20 minutes) or Avenida Domingo Diaz (via Tocumen) or via Tocumen (taking one hour). - both run northeast from the city. The Airport’s general information number is 238-2761.
With two long runways and a yearly estimated passenger count of 7.5 million, Tocumen International Airport is hub to Copa Airlines and is served by a number of international airlines offering direct and connecting flights to all points of the globe.
Panama Tocumen International Airport has a fully upgraded and integrated passenger terminal with 4 levels and North & South Piers (Concourses).  NOTE, however, that as of September the South Concourse was renamed to Terminal 2 (T2) - so presumably T1 is the one with the North Concourse.
    Ground level 0 is the Arrivals level and houses Customs, Immigration and baggage claim, rental car counters, transportation;
    Level 1 is the check-in level andhouses airline counters security checkpoints and the tax-free area;
    Level 2 is the Departure level, housing  the Tocumen Royal Salon (tel. 238 2600) - a VIP lounge close to the gate areas. This level offers access to South & North Concourses, which are to be extended:
       South Concourse houses three gate areas: In the center are gates 20-25 with access to gates 20A-25A;  to the left are gates 11-19; and to the right are gates 26-33.   All airlines other than Copa use the South Concourse at present.  South Concourse is currently under expansion work until 2016.
       North Concourse - a new 700-meter structure - has a modern baggage system, lounges, 12 gates (one of which will accommodate the large A380 plane), and a large commercial area housing retail concessions. Copa is the main occupant at the North Concourse.
    Level 3 houses offices, and food & drink and retail concessions.  40 more stores are being added during 2015.

Passengers headed to the United States:  The Global Pass program  enables them to pass the immigration process faster.
The Crown Plaza Panama Airport Hotel with 3,000 sq.feet of flexible meeting space, will open in February 2015 near the Airport - part of the Global Business Hub.

NOTE:  While ACI awarded Tocumen Airport  “Best Airport” and “Best Airport Staff” of Latin American airports of its size in early 2015 - recent passenger comments from different countries seemed to agree on:  (a) high prices for food, drink & shops, (b) rude & slow security staff, and (c) no water fountains; paid-for bottled water only in the boarding area - which you cannot take onboard!  Not much seems to have changed in the last few months, as an irate passenger noted in September 2015:  Arrivals Hall old, dark, crowded and with inadequate  ventilation system at one part of the terminal.  A secondary security check is at the departure gate with carry-on bags being X-rayed again.  American citizens are being finger-printed, and a facial picture is taken. No water can be purchased at post-security, while water bottles purchased at pre-security will be confiscated at post-security checkpoint. Shops & food are expensive!

Present and future Airport developments:
  The ongoing $769M South Concourse expansion project involves 50,000 sq.meters, which are to include immigration/Customs areas, passenger check-out, parking lots, commercial areas and 30 airbridges, with a capacity of 15M passengers a year by 2016/17.  When totally completed by 2022, the Airport is to be able to handle up to 18M passengers annually, served by 54 airline gates.
In addition, the South Concourse project  - now renamed T2 - also includes a new highway from Corredor Sur (southern corridor), a new control tower, and 8,000 sq.meters of duty-free shops.

The new Rio Hato /Scarlett Martinez Airport (Code: RIH) at the former site of Panama's defense base in Cocle, is now serving as relief Airport to ease congestion at Tocumen. It is connected by a tunnel to the Pan-American Hwy.  Its first commercial flight took place in March 2014, and more airlines and charters were added thereafter. Rio Hato Airport has an advantage for tourists as it is closer to Coronado & its Pacific beaches - avoiding a 2-hour ride from Tocumen). 


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