I, and many others, were shocked and surprised to learn that Avianca – Taca has suspended operations in Panama via their regional carrier, Aeroperlas. In a statement released to the media they said only that “the decision reflects the need to rethink the business model of the airline, based on analysis of trends and current conditions in the Panamanian market.”
Aeroperlas was one of two airlines, including Air Panama, that has served the domestic market in Panama. According to The Bulletin Panama – A Bi-Lingual Newspaper which focuses on Logistic News and Information for Panama and Around the Globe, this event must now be analyzed by the Civil Aviation Authority to avoid creating a monopoly in the air transportation sector, which will affect the thousands of local residences and tourists who use the airlines as a regular means of transportation.
Since Friday, February 24, flights on the five routes that were operated by the Aeroperlas were canceled. The company said it would indemnify the 150 employees and notified customers who had already purchased tickets to call their offices in Panama City to obtain a refund.
Eduardo Stagg, manager of Air Panama, confirmed that they would increase the frequency of Air Panama flights immediately to meet demand.
It’s no surprise that airlines the world over continue to struggle with the wild economic ride around the globe since 2008. However, Panama seemed to have weathered the storm and was on a rebound. In 2009 air travel fell by 11% but by last year it had already begun a turn around with domestic air passenger travel up over 7%
Avianca-Taca just celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2010,