Expansion of Tocumen at a good pace

Although the storm battering the Brazilian company Norberto Odebretch threatened to affect the expansion work of Tocumen International Airport, this entity has managed to circumvent the situation and all the numbers indicate that in the short term it will become one of the three main Latin American air terminals.

In the past Cabinet Council held in the district of Juan Díaz, the manager of Tocumen S.A., Carlos Duboy, referred to the construction of Terminal 2 of Tocumen International Airport, which registers progress of 73%. The Terminal includes a Logistics Zone and a Cargo Terminal.

The Tocumen Development Master Plan will allow an integrated Airport City made up of passenger terminals, a Multimodal Air Cargo Zone and the development of complementary activities taking advantage of the benefits offered by the country.

According to Duboy, Panamanians should stop seeing Tocumen International Airport as a center for foreigners, where passengers come in and out, and start seeing it as one of the largest companies in the country, as it will give direct employment to more than 1,500 Panamanians.

In its latest report published late last May, Fitch Ratings awarded a AAA (slv) rating to the 2013 issue of $650 million in Senior Secured Bonds of Tocumen International Airport.

This classification reflects the strategic position of the airport as the main gateway to the country and its location in the center of the continent.

“The flexibility shown by the airport to adjust rates when necessary and manage the cost per passenger helps mitigate a capital structure that maintains a high leverage”, said Fitch.

In 2016, traffic increased 8.2%, exceeding Fitch's 3.9% projection. Passengers in transit continued to represent 68% of the total.

According to the operator, the works are expected to be completed by December 2017. The new terminal would operate from the first quarter of 2018 and increase the airport's annual capacity to approximately 20 million passengers.

Fitch does not anticipate that the deterioration of Odebrecht's rating to 'CC' in January 2017 will limit the current rating. The risk of default by the builder is mitigated by the ample liquidity conferred by the performance bond granted by Assa Compañía de Seguros and an adequate retention of the costs of the pending work.

Tocumen International Airport recorded an increase of 4.79% in the number of passengers during the first three months of 2017.

A total of 577,958 travelers departed between January and March to 83 destinations in 35 countries in America and Europe. While passengers on flights of international connections stood at 2.6 million.

Duboy explained that high visitor numbers reflect the success of the government's ongoing promotion at strategic markets.

Source: Capital Financiero