Aeroperlas Shuts Down - As Of Today
Wednesday, February 29 2012 @ 07:29 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
CANCELLATIONS - Users of the airline - which began operations in 1969 - can communicate with Aeroperlas representatives by phoning 378-6000 to learn more about the status of their respective cases, and to come to an agreement on the payment of the reimbursement process. Travelers who have already started on their trips (those who have used the first half of a round trip ticket) should also contact the airline by telephone.
Leaving The Market - Aeroperlas operated from the Marcos A. Gelabert airport located in Albrook, Panama City, and flew to the provinces of Chiriqui, Bocas del Toro and Contadora Island, with a connection to international flights from the Tocumen International Airport. According to company reports, in 2011 they carried 113,222 passengers and in 2010 they carried 110,979 passengers, representing a slight increase of 2.02%. Until today there were only two domestic airlines operating in Panama - Aeroperlas and Air Panama. The Civil Aviation Authority reported that the transportation of passengers grew by 7.33% in 2011, after having reported a decline of 11% in the previous year.
In the statement announcing their decision, Aeroperlas said, without elaborating, that "we hope that, in unity with the judgment of the authorities, that we can - in the future - design a new model of operations that contributes to the economic exchange, social and cultural development of the Republic of Panama." (Prensa)
Editor's Comment: Interesting. Well, someone else is probably going to step in to pick up the slack. Air Panama will obviously benefit from Aeroperlas' decision to suspend their operations, and now Air Panama is the lone provider in the domestic market. Fewer choices and options is usually a bad thing for customers and travelers - it would be better to have a few different companies offering service, rather than just one. At this point there's not enough information available to know the "why" Aeroperlas decided to shut down, but I'm sure that information will come peculating up over time. In the very near term it's probably going to be tough to get tickets on Air Panama flights, until they can make some adjustments to pick up the slack, and to carry the 10,000 passengers per month or so that Aeroperlas was doing before they shut down. So the end result is that anyone who wants to travel via air inside of the Republic of Panama to David, Bocas del Toro, or anywhere else, should make their reservations as far in advance as possible.