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Central America: Tocumen is Top Dog in Air Connectivity

Article Summary:

None of the airports in Central America come close to knocking Tocumen off its number one position in the ranking by Skytrax, nor the ranking by the World Economic Forum. Panama climbed from 38th place in 2007 to Sixth place last year.

Photo Credit: Ozoko

Original Article Text From El Salvador :

Central competes for best airport take off

Tocumen Airport, in Panama, has dominated in recent years ranked first in the ranking of best airbases Central America and Caribbean, in the index Skytrax, a world that ranks the quality and standards of excellence in the airport industry . Skytrax recognizes both the Tocumen ranked 74 among the 100 best in the world.

The British firm produces an annual global ranking which in turn segmented into regions. In Central America, Costa Rica and El Salvador hold the second and third among the best in the area, after Tocumen, for this 2013. (See Annex ranking)

Skytrax formulated its rankings based on questionnaires turned 12.1 million for 108 kinds of nationalities, airlines 525 customers located in 550 airports worldwide. His analysis covers services companies, comfort in waiting rooms, loading efficiency, in-flight catering, facilities, and other variables.

No airport of Tocumen Central America makes move to first place in the ranking from Skytrax, nor the ranking of the World Economic Forum. The latter measures the quality of infrastructure in the country for air travel, where Panama has climbed from 38th place in 2007 I had last year to get a prestigious sixth. (See Annex ranking)

While the rest just run Central American airport expansion projects or renewal of Panama speed ahead. In February, construction began on the South Terminal which will include a shopping mall, hotel infrastructure, customs service, check passengers, parking lots, a new control tower and 30 boarding bridges, at 50,000 square meters.

You have programmed it to invest $ 679 million and has just released the Tocumen North Pier, an area 21,000 square meters including 12 boarding bridges, runways, and offices for the airlines. The work cost $ 100 billion last year.

The goal of the CV is to be efficiently equipped and ready to receive in 2016 to 18 million passengers. Currently 6.9 million travelers pass.

Upon completion of the South Terminal, Tocumen will have 141,000 meters square and 54 boarding gates. The expansion and renovation project approved this year by the National Economic Council (CENA) is $ 146 million, according to reports from the Ministry of Economy Panama.

Costa Rica is listed as the second best airport in the region in the Skytrax ranking, but their quality levels not significantly advance infrastructure in measurements of the World Economic Forum. Just has climbed six places (66-60) from 2007-2012. However, among the countries of the region, is the most ambitious and visionary project package three bases to expand and modernize secondary Juan Santamaria.

As of November, a new phase of expansion will run to build two boarding lounges, shopping malls and an operations center. The planned investment is $ 18 million and allow the flow of 260,000 additional passenger and aircraft traffic 36 and 65 meter wingspan. Currently, circulation of 3.66 million people, including passenger ferries and transit.

Simultaneously, Costa Rica committed to host automotive industry investors. By January organized the meeting “Meeting Aerospace Central America” ​​with more than 50 international companies and aviation industry.

For Jorge Sequeira, manager of the Foreign Trade Promoter, the country is emerging as a destination for suppliers in the value chain of the automotive and aviation. Hence the airport development package go in sync with the other strategies.

Costa Rica has reacted with such a strategy a month after it cut its second largest Avianca “hub” of operations at the Juan Santamaría, to concentrate on El Salvador and Peru.

Avianca centralize its regional operations in Comalapa, where it is estimated that some 90 additional flights to those currently transiting.

In response, the Salvadoran authorities kicked off with a first phase of upgrades including runway center, a rehabilitation of infrastructure and a third set that includes a shopping mall.

The initial investment is $ 58.2 million, with a total budget of $ 74 million.

For its part, Guatemala, though does not have a “hub” of airline operations, as in El Salvador has Avianca and Copa Airlines in Panama, last year concentrated their efforts to modernize their navigation equipment in the international terminal of Aurora, which circulate 2.4 million people per year and 296 run daily operations.

During 2013, the ambitious capital municipality is considering the possibility of moving the Aurora to ensure future growth territories. The project has been valued between $ 500 and $ 750 million.

Last year, while Guatemala invested in the construction of airports San Jose and Puerto Barrios, to address the flow of business travelers and tourists.

While in Honduras, five international companies, including a Chinese, participate in the tender to build a second international airport to be located in Palmerola. The work is $ 130 million.

Honduras currently has four airports, Toncontin, Ceiba, Roatan and San Pedro Sula, whose operator has committed to invest $ 300 million in upgrades for the coming years.

For its part, Nicaragua has invested $ 25 million since 2011, building 3 bases on islands and tourist inflow regions. Last year opened the airport in San Juan del Norte, to operate flights to Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama.

The area airports face challenges from varied and demand and competitiveness. Peter Cerna, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said the international domestic transportation in the region has grown at the rate of 3% per annum and, in turn, the isthmus represents 5% of the global airline market.

In 2013, airlines landing in the region estimate that its seating capacity per kilometer will increase to 122 million, eight million more than in 2012 (see graph Official Airline Guide OAG).

Additionally, tourism to the region has grown 6.2% in the last 12 years with rising prospects. Meanwhile, the manufacturer Boeing estimates that air commerce between the isthmus and the United States will reach the 400,000 tons in 2031 and transactions with Europe grow at a rate of 5.9% annually.

An ECLAC study on the competitiveness of Central American airports indicates that the region has a capacity shortfall influenced by three factors: the purpose of the states to control the supply of capacity, their relationship with the company operators, and lack of information between all actors in the chain of air transport.

For ECLAC, the efficiency of the airports in the area should be sought with corporate managements, or if each of these is “corporatiza”, leading to competition.

Link to Original Article:

From el Salvador

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