Delta announced 3 new routes to Panama in its latest network expansion

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Touring Delta Air Lines' new terminal at LaGuardia Airport  - Delta Hard Hat Tour 2021
Touring Delta Air Lines' new terminal at LaGuardia Airport. Thomas Pallini/Insider
  • Delta Air Lines is launching three new routes and one additional frequency to Panama City, Panama this winter.

  • The expansion will mark Delta's highest number of flights to the country since it started service there in 1998.

  • Delta's flight from Orlando will be the carrier's only international route out of the central Florida city.

Delta Air Lines is focusing on Panama City, Panama in its latest network expansion, announcing three all-new nonstop routes to the Central American country on Friday.

Delta is launching three new routes to Panama City in December from Los Angeles, Orlando, and New York, expanding its operation in the country to 13 weekly flights, which is an 80% increase in capacity since 2019, according to the airline. In addition to new routes, the airline is also adding a second Saturday-only frequency from its hub in Atlanta, set to begin on December 18. According to Delta, this winter will mark the highest number of flights to Panama since beginning service there in 1998.

"From its breathtaking beaches and vibrant culture to its competitive economy in Latin America, Panama is a highly sought destination for business and leisure travelers alike," said Luciano Macagno, Delta's managing director - Latin America, Caribbean, and South Florida. "With our new direct flights from our L.A. and JFK hubs that offer significant U.S. connectivity, as well as the demand from the local Orlando community, we're looking forward to introducing Delta's signature hospitality and exceptional onboard experience to more customers planning their next trip."

The launch of these routes indicates Delta sees strong business and leisure demand to the country, which has had a good recovery since the pandemic. According to Cirium data for October, airlines are operating 83% of the flights offered to Panama during the same time in 2019. Tourism in Panama spiked over the summer, with over 50,000 visitors in June 2021, according to CEIC data, compared to the 30,000 in May. However, this is still well below 2019 levels which saw over 120,000 tourists.

Delta will face strong competition from Panama's national carrier Copa Airlines, which has its "Hub of the Americas" in Panama City. Last month, the airline joined the government in promoting tourism in the country, including launching its "Panama Stopover" and "Panama Irresistible" programs, according to Spanish aviation media outlet Aviaci Online.

The stopover initiative, which was done with the support of the Tourism Promotion Fund, known as PROMTUR, offers travelers the option to add a multi-day stop in Panama City to their reservation at no additional cost.

"One of the main objectives of PROMTUR Panama is to generate demand for international travelers through strategic alliances, and programs such as the Panama Stopover, align our efforts to position the country as a tourist destination in an attractive way for the thousands of tourists who travel through Copa Airlines," said PROMTUR's general director Fernando Fondevila.

Meanwhile, the company's "Panama Irresistible" program offers discounts to Panama from dozens of cities in its network, including Los Angeles and Orlando, according to Aviaci Online.

Here's a closer look at Delta's new routes to Panama.

Between Orlando and Panama City, Panama

City skyline and Lake Eola at Orlando in Florida
Orlando, Florida John Greim/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Delta will launch Saturday-only flights between Orlando and Panama City on December 18 using a Boeing 737-900 aircraft, which can carry 180 passengers. The outbound will depart Orlando at 10:30 a.m. and land in Panama City at 1:50 p.m., with the return leaving at 3:20 p.m. and arriving at 6:40 p.m. The route will be the airline's only international flight out of Orlando and will face competition from Copa Airlines.

Between Los Angeles and Panama City, Panama

los angeles skyline
Los Angeles, California Getty Images/TheCrimsonRibbon

Delta will launch once-daily flights between Los Angeles and Panama City on December 18 using a Boeing 757 aircraft, which can carry 199 passengers. The outbound flight will operate on Saturdays and depart Los Angeles at 8:50 p.m. and land in Panama City at 5:45 a.m. the next day. The return will operate on Sundays and leave at 8:05 a.m. and arrive at 11:15 a.m. Delta will compete with Copa Airlines on the route.

Between New York's JFK International Airport and Panama City, Panama

Buildings in Manhattan as seen from the tall One Vanderbilt building against a blue sky.
New York City, New York Joey Hadden/Insider

Delta will launch thrice-weekly flights on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between New York-JFK and Panama City on December 20 using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which can carry 160 passengers. Frequencies will increase to four times weekly on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in March 2022. The outbound will depart New York in the morning and the return will leave Panama City in the afternoon. Copa Airlines will be Delta's only competitor.

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