Panama has taken its first step towards reopening the Tocumen International Airport which is a major hub for Latin America and was the busiest airport in Central America prior to the pandemic.
Through an executive decree signed by Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo on July 31, the Tocumen Airport will open for international transiting passengers and Panamanians to enter and exit the country under certain protocols.
According to to the Decree, transiting through the Tocumen International airport for international passengers and for the entry and exit of national citizens will be permitted.
“Establishing a controlled operation for the interconnection of international commercial aviation which allows limited transit through Tocumen International Airport and for the exit and controlled entry of Panamanians and residents of Panama.”
However, the decree stated that transiting passengers through Tocumen International Airport will only be permitted providing that their two flights are no longer than six hours apart.
Panama’s borders have been completely locked down since late March until the decree was issued on Thursday.
The decree shared by the Latin American & Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) on social networking site LinkedIn expressed that it was “the first step towards reopening the skies with a controlled operations center”.
Additionally travelers who had previous authorization from the Panamanian government to travel to the country, can do so provided they maintain health protocols.
Transiting passengers and foreign tourists have not been allowed in Panama since its borders closed at 23:59 local time on March 22, 2020.
International flights were expected to restart on July 22 but that has since been pushed back for another month.
Several repatriation flights have operated into Panama since the suspension of international flights, but these were operated mainly by Copa Airlines.
All returning Panama nationals and travelers with permission from the government will be expected to quarantine for 14 days.
This is the first step the Panamanian government has made in loosening restrictions regarding international travel.
No dates have been given on when Panama will begin reopening for international tourism.
Update August 26:
Disclaimer: Panama’s reopening news can change without notice and is being updated constantly. We do our best to keep this article up to date with all the latest information, but the decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.