Panama’s Tocumen International Airport (PTY) served 15.7 million passengers in 2022 and expects to break the all-time traffic record in 2023, the airport authorities announced in a statement this week. A total of 24 airlines operate from Tocumen International, led by the country’s flag carrier, Copa Airlines (CM).

Tocumen’s strong performance in 2022

Tocumen International had a strong performance in 2022, recovering more than 95% of the routes it had prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Raffoul Arab, manager of the airport. During that period, Panama City’s main hub received 15.77 million passengers, representing an increase of 6.6 million travelers versus 2021. The airport authorities did not say how much of a recovery Tocumen had versus 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had a robust close of the year and, if that tendency remains through 2023, we estimate to surpass all the traffic records with over 16.8 million passengers,” said Arab in a statement.

As of January 2023, Tocumen International has around 1,212 weekly departures, according to data by Cirium. Copa Airlines remain the top carrier operating from this airport, which is employed as its Hub of the Americas, connecting to over 70 destinations all over the region. Copa Airlines operates, on average, 1,098 weekly departures from PTY, holding a 91% departure market share and an 88% seat share.

Certain highlights of the year for Tocumen

It definitely was an excellent year for Tocumen International and Copa Airlines. They are deeply intertwined and heavily depend on each other. Copa Airlines has built a proven and robust business model operating a convenient network for intra-Latin America travel from the ‘Hub of the Americas.’

Tocumen International leverages its advantageous geographic position to connect across the region easily. Other airports and airlines have tried to replicate this model in the region; for example, Arajet at Santo Domingo International and Viva Colombia at Medellín International.

In 2023, Tocumen International celebrated the complete opening of Terminal 2, the reopening of the Panama Pacífico Airport, a different –smaller– airport serving Panama City, the launch of direct flights from Frankfurt operated by Eurowings Discover and from Istanbul by Turkish Airlines, and more.

Looking at the numbers of other leading hubs in the Latin American region

Despite being a strong connectivity hub, Tocumen International does not rank in the top three airports in Latin America. Last year’s largest airport by traffic was Mexico City International (MEX) which had 41.96 million passengers by November. Bogota El Dorado International (BOG) and Sao Paulo Guarulhos International (GRU) held a close race for the second spot in the region, with Colombia’s main hub totaling 32.15 million passengers until November and Guarulhos having 34.4 million for the full year.

Both Mexican and Colombian authorities should release their latest figures shortly. Other airports in the region: Santiago de Chile International (SCL) had 16.7 million passengers until November; Buenos Aires Ezeiza International (EZE) received 6.6 million passengers in the year; Santo Domingo International received 4.08 million until November 2022.

Have you been to Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport recently? How was the experience? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Copa Airlines Boeing 737-800 (2)

    Copa Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Tocumen International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Pedro Heilbron



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