Flying to Panama’s David Airport

Enrique Malek International to Miami International AirportCurrently travelers can fly into and out of David’s Enrique Malek Airport (DAV) from:

  • Panama City’s Albrook Airport (PAC)
  • San Jose, Costa Rica’s Tobias Bolaños Airport (SYQ)

Airlines servicing DAV are Air Panama and Aeroperlas (owned by Avianca-TACA).

Travelers from the U.S. usually fly to Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport (PTY) where they must switch airports and airlines in order to fly out of Albrook Airport to David.

Fly from Tocumen as of July 1, 2011 — Travelers can now fly to David from Panama City’s Tocumen Airport with a stop at Albrook Airport via Aeroperlas (owned by Avianca-TACA) or Copa Airlines (partnered with United-Continental).

Important because:

  • For the first time, travelers from the U.S. can purchase their entire flight itinerary on one convenient ticket, which they can buy online through the major booking engines.
  • Travelers don’t have to leave the terminal at Tocumen to drive to Albrook. They can now take a ten minute flight to Albrook and then go on to David.

Our Goal

More and more flight options are available to travelers (see the Progress section below). However, our goal is to achieve frequent, affordable flights (one-stop and non-stop) from the U.S. to Panama’s David airport, and the best way to make that happen is to work with commercial airlines to guarantee flights.

Progress is being made in this area!

  • Representatives from DAVdirect met with the Minister of Tourism at the ATP (Autoridad de Turismo), who pledged that the ATP would contribute $200,000 per year to help bond flights to David.
  • DAVdirect sponsors have pledged to contribute a total of over $350,000 spread over several years of bonded flight operations.
  • Negotiations with airlines have already begun.

It will take time, money, and energy to reach our goal. If you are a stakeholder in the Chiriqui area, learn how you can become a DAVdirect sponsor. Even if you have just 10 minutes, you can help by taking action.

Progress – News and Updates

Now – Copa Airlines has started codesharing with the Global Star Alliance, which includes Avianca-Taca (owner of Aeroperlas) and United-Continental Airlines. Codesharing is an aviation business arrangement where two airlines share the same flight. A seat can be purchased on one airline but is actually operated by a cooperating airline under a different flight number or code.

Already travelers can order tickets for travel dates as early as October 2011 using online ticketing engines like Expedia. Flight choices are still limited, eg: you may have to fly from San Juan, Costa Rica (SJO) to Albrook (PAC) to David (DAV). Fuller codesharing participation is expected in 2012.

Important because:

  • Online purchasing available through the major booking engines
  • More flight options

Read about the code sharing agreement here.

Late 2011 – Copa Airlines has announced that they will begin direct flights to DAV from Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport later this year.

Important because:

  • It eliminates the need to change airports and airlines in Panama City.
  • Travelers could buy one direct ticket online through the major ticketing websites (Expedia, Travelocity, etc.).
  • Baggage would be sent through to David, without the passenger picking it up and taking it with them across town.
  • Passengers would not have to go through security again when they arrive at Albrook

Read the Prensa article in English here or in Spanish here.

In the future – Promotional operations managers at Air Panama have stated that they are in negotiations with Copa Airlines and may be purchased by them soon.

Important because:

  • Copa would take over Air Panama’s gates at DAV, and could easily fly there from any of Copa’s locations, including Panama City’s Tocumen Airport.

Our goal – DAVdirect sponsors and the Panamanian Tourism Authority are talking with commercial airlines. The goal is to negotiate a deal for bonded flights from the US to David. The Tourism Authority (ATP) has pledged $200,000 per year toward this effort!
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