Pedasi Flights Take Wing

Pedasi Flights Take Wing

Pedasi, Panama received its first inaugural flight from Panama City last month, launching the first foray by a domestic airline into the fast-growing region.

The introductory flight by Aeroperlas Regional marks the first of a twice-weekly run from the country’s capital, shortening the four-hour drive to a 55-minute trip to Panama’s “Tuna Coast”.

Live dance and musical performances marked the event, which was attended by Panama’s Minister of Tourism, Salomon Shamah, and Rolando Pereira, Commercial Manager of Aeroperlas, as well as representatives from various local businesses, who were instrumental in initiating the joint venture.

Mr Shamah announced the government’s intent to penetrate the country’s interior and further explore its rich tourism potential, while emphasizing the need to protect the natural heritage that supplies it.

The flight was received enthusiastically by local investors and residents alike.

“This region had been left off the map of domestic flights long enough,” said Daniel Rudas of Andromeda Ocean Estates, a Panama beachfront gated community in Pedas?.  “We and other investors in the area were determined to persuade the airlines and the Ministry of Tourism that Pedasi, and the entire Azuero Peninsula, has the potential needed to make scheduled flights viable.  In fact, the demand is already there – it just needed to be acknowledged.”

Andromeda Ocean Estates and several other Pedasi businesses persuaded Mr Shamah to visit the Pedasi area and discover just how much tourism potential was waiting to be tapped.

“Once Mr Shamah set foot in Pedasi, we knew that the flight was going to become a reality.  Pedasi sells itself,” marked Mr Rudasevski.

Soon after their meeting, Aeroperlas executives, Pedasi investors and the Ministry of Tourism (ATP) hammered out a deal to subsidize flights to Pedasi’s existing airstrip.

Set in the southern point of the Azuero Peninsula in Panama’s Los Santos province, Pedasi has gained a reputation in recent years as a cozy escape for Hollywood and international celebrities, many of whom have bought vacation homes in the region.  Charming fishing villages, miles of deserted beaches, waters churning with tuna, marlin, mahi-mahi, sailfish and other prize catches, vibrant festivals and beautiful nature reserves have marked Pedasi’s appeal and lured strong investment into the district.

While Pedasi is a smooth four-hour drive from Panama City on well-maintained highways, the advent of a scheduled flight promises to further open up the region to both tourism and investment.

Both Aeroperlas and the ATP have already begun a forceful marketing campaign promoting the new flights, which will run midday on Mondays and Fridays from Panama City’s Albrook Airport (also known as the Marcos. A. Gelabert Airport), returning the same day.  A third, additional flight on Wednesdays is also potentially in the works.

The 12-seater plying the route is one of many operated by Aeroperlas, which ferries passengers to 13 destinations across Panama.  The addition of Pedasi marks the airline’s first entry into the country’s long-neglected central interior; the majority of flights serviced destinations closer to the capital, and the Costa Rican border.

Aeroperlas is part of the TACA group, which operates domestic flights in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, as well as international flights across the Americas.

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