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Striving  to keep Viva Colombia in Panama

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Airport authorities will meet again this week with Viva Colombia in an attempt  to keep the low-cost carrier operating in Panama.

Tocumen, S.A., is willing to offer better conditions to the airline which operates two routes from Colombia to the Panama Pacifico airport, administered by Tocumen,  but the airline has indicated that the increase in the exit tax is affecting its business plan of offering flights at affordable prices reports La Prensa

In a weekend statement, Tocumen said it could offer better hours, cheaper rates and promotions in Panama Pacifico, as well as Rio Hato and Colon. However, in the past  Viva Colombia, the company has expressed interest in being allowed to move its operations to Tocumen International.

Carlos Duboy, manager of Tocumen, S.A., has said that this alternative is not viable in the short term due to saturation at  “The Hub of the Americas” and that it would be necessary to wait for the new passenger terminal to enter operations.

Duboy met on  Friday, May 4 with Carlos Mesa, Vice President of Airports of Viva Air, operator of Viva Colombia, and agreed to hold a second meeting to continue looking for alternatives to keep the connections from Bogotá and Medellín in force. The airline has been operating since August 2014 and, to date, it has carried more than 360,000 passengers to Panama, a major boost to tourist arrivals.

In response to Viva Colombia’s arguments that the $15 to $ 35 per passenger increase in exit tax has affected its operations, Tocumen claims that Wingo, a low-cost subsidiary of Copa Holdings, also has its operations in  Howard’s old military base, and has “been increasing routes, frequencies, and number of passengers.”

“Since the arrival in Panama of low fares and the timely and quality product of Wingo in 2016, passenger traffic between Bogotá-Panamá and Medellín-Panamá grew by 85% and 57%, respectively,” said  Catalina Bretón, General leader of Wingo.

The planned cancellation of flights to Panama is in addition to other cuts that Viva Colombia has been developing since the middle of last year when it suspended its operations to the cities of Cali and Barranquilla, and cut frequencies to Medellín, among others.

A note sent by Tocumen indicated that Mesa said during the meeting with Duboy, that the company is rethinking its commercial strategy, where the focus is to operate in smaller cities with very low-cost regional airports. Tocumen says that the rates of the Panama Pacifico airport are 50% below the tax charged by similar terminals in the region.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/business/panama-4/striving-to-keep-viva-colombia-in-panama

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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Viva Colombia Airlines Service In Panama
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First low-cost airline leaving Panama skies

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Panama’s first low-cost airline, Vivacolombia that has ferried hundreds of thousands of passengers to and from Colombia over the last two years will not be seen in the skies over the capital city after Sunday, May 20.

To avoid the company leaving the isthmus, Tocumen  International Airport authorities have proposed that it move its operation to Colón airport where the airport tax would be reduced to $10.

A  proposal  has  been sent to executives of Vivacolombia,  for the move to the terminal Enrique Jiménez de Colón.

Carlos Duboy, manager of Tocumen S.A. says that ” t makes sense for the company to move to Colón because that is where the cruise homeport operations are and a significant number of the passengers who board ships every Friday are Colombians.”

Regarding the refusal to lower the airport tax in Panama Pacifico, Duboy told La Prensa that ” … it is not feasible for Tocumen to reduce airport charges in that terminal, as requested by Viva Colombia, because that would be ‘a blow’ for the public limited company, which last week issued $225 million dollars in bonds in order to continue funding its expansion plan.”

At the beginning of May, the low-cost airline announced that it would stop flying between Panama and the cities of Medellín and Bogotá, citing high operating costs and the increase in the airport tax.

In a statement, the airline said that “… Vivacolombia, the first low-cost airline in the country, announces that it will cancel its Bogota-Panama-Bogotá and Medellín-Panama-Medellín routes as of May 20, 2018. This decision is made taking into account the high operating costs and the increase in the airport tax which went from $15 to $35, representing an increase of 135%.”

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/travel/panama-2/first-low-cost-airline-leaving-panama-skies

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Viva Colombia has wanted to fly direct into Tocumen rather than Panama Pacifico but has been denied because there is no space until the airport expansion is finished.   I have read that Viva Colombia (http://www.newsroompanama.com/business/panama-4/striving-to-keep-viva-colombia-in-panama)  is said to be considering flying to smaller, regional airports.   It sure would be nice if they flew in/out of David, giving everyone another option rather than being forced to go to Panama City.

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