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Tocumen International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the Central American region. It is located at Tocumen, 24km east of the city of Panama in the Republic of Panama. The airport was first opened in June 1947. In 1981, it was renamed as Omar Torrijos airport during the military regime. The original name was again restored when the US invaded Panama in 1989. The airport provided service to about 5.84 million passengers and witnessed more than 93,710 aircraft movements in 2011. It also handled 110,946t of cargo during the same period.
Tocumen International Airport expansions
In January 2012, tenders were invited for the construction of a new south terminal at the airport with an estimated investment of about $679.4m. The new terminal will have new areas for immigration, customs and 20 additional boarding bridges.
The south terminal at the airport is planned for expansion. In September 2012, Norberto Odebrecht was awarded the construction contract for the terminal expansion. The new construction is expected to begin in 2013 and will be completed by 2015.
The expansion at the existing north terminal (Muelle Norte) was completed in January 2012. The project added 12 new aircraft gates, 1,400m² of commercial space and ten moving walkways, and involved the expansion of the north concourse and the baggage sorting system. The expansion doubled the terminal capacity to ten million passengers a year.
A major expansion and modernisation was completed at the Tocumen airport in 2006. It expanded the size of the passenger terminal to 20,830m², replaced 14 old boarding bridges with 22 new bridges and installed modern equipment, such as new elevators, luggage conveyor belts and flight information systems at the common areas.
The modernisation project also included revamping the air conditioning system and renovation of cargo terminal. The terminal of the airport was built at an investment of $21m.
Terminal features and runways at IATA: PTY
The airport currently has one passenger terminal and one cargo terminal. The main passenger terminal features customs and immigration and baggage claim at the ground floor.
Level one of the terminal is facilitated with airline counters, security checkpoints and the tax-free area. The level two includes departure area and access to south and north concourses. The third level of the terminal has offices and food and drink establishments.
The passenger amenities at the terminal include a bank and an ATM at the departure area, information desk and currency exchange at arrivals area and a VIP lounge near the boarding gates. The terminal has 34 boarding gates in total.
The airport has two runways. The first runway (03R/21L) is 3,050m in length and paved with concrete. The second runway (03L/21R) is 2,682m in length and surfaced with asphalt.
Baggage handling systems at Panama’s airport
In November 2006, Inter-Roller Engineering was awarded with a contract to design and build a baggage handling system at the airport. Pteris Global supplied the integrated system and high-level control software.
The new baggage handling system features complete integration of high-level computerised controls for flight allocation. It has baggage tracking and maintenance diagnostic system. It was designed to handle up to seven million passengers a year.
Zortek Systems installed engineering and software systems at the airport from 2006 to 2008.
Ground transportation and parking
The airport offers public bus, airport shuttles, and taxi services. Seven car hire operators are located in the arrivals hall of the terminal. The operators include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National and Thrifty. The airport has a large parking area of about 25,000m² located in front of the main passenger terminal.
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