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Why Did Emirates Postpone Panama City Launch to March

Emirates Boeing 777-200LR A6-EWA Non stop

Emirates (EK) announced in August 2015 it would commence operations to Panama City in February originally. Why has this flight been delayed to a later time?

Emirates

Once the world’s longest flight by distance, the original plans were to start service between Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Tocumen International Airport (PTY) located in Panama City on February 1, 2016.

Operations were postponed to March 31, 2016.  The airline indicated it will make alternate arrangements for those who booked flights during this holding period.

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Flight Details

This will be Emirates‘ first destination in Central America. The flight details are listed below:

Emirates Dubai to Panama City Flight Details
Emirates Dubai to Panama City Flight Details
Source: Emirates

The outbound flight will leave early in the morning and will arrive early afternoon in Panama City. The aircraft will stay in the capital for almost six hours before departing for Dubai at 2200 (10pm). This is half hour earlier than originally scheduled. The earlier arrival time in UAE will facilitate easier connections to Asian destinations.

A Boeing 777-200LR will be use for this route.  The aircraft has three class configuration (First, Business and Economy) with a total of 266 seats.

Emirates Dubai to Panama City Aircraft Details
Emirates Dubai to Panama City Aircraft Details (Boeing 777-200LR)
Source: Emirates

First class features individual enclosed suites that can be transformed into a lie flat bed. Business class uses older generation seats that can be extended into an angle flat position (i.e. bed position will be at an angle). Economy class passengers will be treated with a seat with a higher pitch on average than some of the  North American carriers.

Analysis

Why The Delay?

The delayed start date was necessary for Emirates and Copa Airlines to obtain all the necessary regulatory approvals . The Civil Aviation Authority (Autoridad Aeronáutica Civil, AAC) approved the Middle Eastern airline to fly between these two cities. However, the codeshare agreement was not been finalized by February 1, 2016.

Emirates needs to pick up feeder traffic from destinations served by Copa Airlines in order to operate the non stop flight profitably.  In return, the latter would gain a significant network expansion to destinations outside of the Americas. The codeshare agreement would also take into consideration profit sharing and potential investment opportunities.

Codeshare Arrangement

Emirates have reached a codeshare agreement with CM.
Initially, EK will include its own numbers on flights between the following city pairs:

  • Panama City – Barranquilla
  • Panama City – Bogota
  • Panama City – Cali
  • Panama City – Medellin

In return, CM will add its code on the new EK flight to Dubai:

CM8030/EK252 PTY2230 – 2330+1DXB 77L D
CM8031/EK251 DXB0805 – 1625PTY 77L D

2 thoughts on “Why Did Emirates Postpone Panama City Launch to March

  1.  The airline indicated it will make alternate arrangements for those who booked flights during this holding period. Where is this information?

    1. It looks like the airline has postponed this flight until end of 2016/early 2017. Existing ticket holders will likely get a refund of the ticket purchased.

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