PANAMA CITY – Electric power was restored on Monday to Tocumen International Airport, Panama’s leading air terminal with important connections throughout the region, and which is now attempting to get operations back to normal after hours without electricity caused flights to be delayed and even canceled.
In a statement, the Tocumen administration said that “several flights are getting ready to take off,” and recommended that “passengers call their airlines to reschedule their departure from the country.”
Monday morning the air terminal was packed, particularly with travelers in transit, who began to get desperate after spending hours in the dark and in the oppressive heat caused by the lack of air conditioning.
“The airport administration together with the airlines take responsibility for providing lodging in hotels, meals and transporting passengers whose flights have been canceled,” Tocumen said in a statement.
Earlier in the morning the Tocumen administration said that power was suspended “due to a failure in the internal distribution circuits, which stopped the power plant from working in the terminal area.”
EFE observed that the outage started around 7:00 am Monday and that after 9:30 am the power partially returned, but only for a few minutes.
For its part, Panama’s Copa Airlines said in a statement that the situation interfered with “the functioning of the airport’s main systems, and significantly affected the itineraries of all the airline’s flights today.”
Copa Airlines therefore invited passengers “with flights in the next few hours to check the status of those flights at www.copaair.com before heading for their respective airports in order to minimize inconveniences.”
In a message on its Twitter account, Copa said “because of the situation at @Tocumen – Aero all our flights with arrivals and departures in Panama between 10:30am-12:30pm have been canceled2/3.”
Tocumen has not specified how many flights were affected by the power outage in the terminal, though it offered apologies and asked for passengers’ understanding.