Emirates postpones its Central American launch further into the year.
This flight was once the world’s longest flight by distance (eclipsed by Emirates’ own launch from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Auckland Airport (AKL) (News – Longest Flights) on March 1). We reported that the original plans were to start service between DXB to Tocumen International Airport (PTY) located in Panama City on February 1, 2016 (News – Panama City).
Commercial operations moved to March 31, 2016 as the airline was in the process to complete codesharing with Copa Airlines and governmental approval arrangements.
The airline announced it would start codesharing with Copa Airlines on this flight at the end of February 2016. It would also link four additional cities within Colombia to gain more feeder traffic.
In a statement with Gulf News, the airline spokesperson said,
“The decision was made after an extensive review of all operational factors, including fleet utilisation and commercial demand from key markets against the global economic outlook.”
“We firmly believe in the potential of Central America, and remain keen to link the Emirates network to the region. We will retain staff in Panama City to continue developing our presence, as well as commercial opportunities with our industry partners.”
The news was confirmed on Emirates’ reservation page as the flights cannot be booked.
The Middle Eastern airline has not announced a new start date of this route. It targets a new launch date tentatively to the end of 2016 or early 2017, “as soon as conditions allow.”
Tocumen International Airport is in a major expansion phase with goals to expand passenger capacity from 5.8 to 18 million passengers annually by 2022. This is being achieved with a new terminal building designed by Foster and Partners. The new South Terminal pictured below is scheduled to open in 2017. This will increase gate capacity 50% from 40 to 60.
Copa Airlines will move their operations to this new terminal once construction is completed. Emirates may also want to wait until then to start operations.