Panama is planning to modernise its airspace to support how its manages a forecast annual increase in international traffic of 5 per cent.
Experts of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), Boeing, the Federal Aviation Authority and the country’s air navigation services provider met at the Technological University of Panama (UTP) in late June.
Panamanian ANSP director Flora Silvera explained that the challenges and issues it has to solve focus on an airspace reconfiguration based on the growth of traffic while maintaining safety. Silvera specified that more than 300,000 flights per year are managed by Panama and that yearly landings and take-offs number more than 250,000.
“The traffic we are handling is greater, but if we had a better flow, or something more systemic, more compact, we could increase that volume without disturbing safety, which is what we really have to consider,” she said, adding that although there are specialists, with the increase in air traffic Panama needs to bring more people to be able to deliver a better service.
Silvera said that currently 315 people are employed to provide air navigation services, although the ANSP is considering an additional 100 in the short and medium term.
“Panama is a model country on aviation, the authorities work very closely with airlines and international entities, the government has made a big effort and then we can compare it with countries like Singapore, which has a strong aerial culture,” said IATA vice president for America Peter Cerdá .
The challenge, said the regional airline industry chief, is to support that growth, that demand, which in the next 20 years in Latin America will double. “For that, we have to make sure that Panama has the infrastructure and capacity to growth,” he pointed out.