I found myself staring at the image of what appeared to be a very large airport.
I didn’t know it was Beijing’s international terminal, the world’s largest and most technologically advanced airport in the world. I didn’t know that it was just one of many stunning structures currently under construction world-wide by the design firm Foster + Partners. As I started to read about the projects, I was taken from Beirut to London, Chicago and Dubai, Singapore, Venice and Panama City. Yes. Panama City.
Among The Most Elite
I smiled when I saw Panama among the most elite and I realized I had been drawn to the image of the airport because the same group of architects who designed the Beijing structure, also designed the new South Terminal at Tocumen International Airport. Our airport, scheduled to be completed by the end of this year was just as stunning as anything else on the page.
We were playing in the big leagues!
Because I know and love Panama, when I read about a competition date, I always mentally question the reality of something actually being finished on time. On projects this large, delays are often the norm and not just in Panama. However, when I read the new South Terminal would be needed to welcome the million plus visitors to Panama City expected for World Youth Day January 22-29, 2019, I felt comfortable we would see the ribbon cut by the end of 2018.
Pope Francis Is Coming
Everyone is very excited about Pope Francis coming to Panama as part of World Youth Day and since the visitors will mainly be coming by airplane, Tocumen, and its beautiful new terminal should be ready and welcoming.
The total cost of the airport expansion is estimated at 800 million USD and it will add almost a million square feet to the existing floor space, increasing passenger capacity to 25 million by 2025. Today Tocumen handles 16 million travelers annually. Currently bids are being taken for the custom furniture needed in the passenger areas.
Direct Flights Everywhere
Panama City has always been known as the “hub of the Americas”, but this new terminal will solidify Panama’s position as the de facto business capital of Central America. Copa Airlines has its main hub at Tocumen and has direct flights to Miami, Toronto, Mexico City, Washington, Buenos-Aires, Boston, Denver and Havana, just to mention a few. Other airlines with operations out of Tocumen International Airport, include Lufthansa, Air France, Avianca, Air China, LOT Polish Airlines, Turkish Airlines, American, Delta, United, KLM, Iberia and Air Canada.
Even after marveling at the Panama City project, I continued to study all the famous designs of Foster + Partners. With 48 active construction sites they are constantly brining to life new buildings, hospitals, office complexes, museums, bridges and even boats and furniture. They are changing the face of our planet for the better and I’m just thrilled Panama City is among the very best.