TACA Connects To David, Chiriquí Panama

On February 18, 2008, TACA had its inaugural flight to David, beginning a service that will allow travelers to come to David without spending the night in Panama City. I was fortunate enough to have an invitation to this event, and what an event it was. The first thing I noticed, when I entered the airport, was that TACA has taken a visual position at the Aero Perlas area.

Since this was the inaugural flight, it was delayed in San Jose for a special inspection. While we were waiting, we moved to the waiting area and several speakers took the floor. First was Ricardo Zárate, who is the manager of sales for TACA in Panama.

The gentleman in the green shirt had come to see the arrival. He was a TACA employee 45 years ago and told many stories about David at that time. He was followed by Señorita Lucy, Viaje Crisol. She is a wealth of information about David and Chiriquí. If I understood her correctly, the David Airport served as a US base during WWII.

Even with the delay, the time passed quickly and soon the plane arrived.

A pavilion had been set up outside and there were presentations and ribbon cutting ceremonies. Speaking, in the following photo, is the minister of tourism in Costa Rica. To his right is Costa Rica’s Ambassador to Panama. To his right is Rubin Blades’ representative (she delivered a very good speech). To the left of the speaker is the ambassador of Panama to Costa Rica and next to him the President of TACA.

Fernando Naranjo (TACA’s president), spoke of this inaugural flight opening a new relationship between Costa Rica and Panama and how important it would be to tourism to both countries.

I’ll drink to that.

There was another ticket drawing, and with even stronger positive thinking, I still didn’t get my name called. Bummer!

There was a lot of entertainment for this special occasion. All was provided by the Academia de Proyecciones Folklorieas. The following young men and women provided the entertainment and I felt they needed special thanks for doing so.

Here are some individual photos of the young ladies.

Here is a photo of their partners.

Here is a brief video of the dancers.

To see the previous post, related to the new TACA flights, go HERE.

25 thoughts on “TACA Connects To David, Chiriquí Panama

  1. Don Ray:
    The field across the David airport used to be the landing airstrip and I remember my father telling me that the americans had a lot to do in building the new airport where it is now because was to be use as a Base.
    Jaime, CA

  2. I checked on this flight since it is less expensive on most airlines to fly to SJO ,but the way I did it ,the price was aprox $700.00 to $800.00 David ,SJO,MIA for those numbers I will fly out of PTY

  3. Indeed, the present day airport was part of “San Jose airfield”, one of the many Army Air Corps facilities in the country during WWII.
    A sad note though is some information I found regarding those days long gone….

    July 1943
    The 3rd Bombardment Squadron moved by airlift from Salinas, Ecuador, to David, R. de P., during the period July 11-15. This move cost the lives of twelve men and the destruction of one B-17E aircraft and a great deal of equipment. The aircraft, piloted by 1st. Lt. Neal J. Peterson, crashed on reaching David. There was a heavy rain pouring down on the field and in coming over the field, and Lt. Peterson was not able to line up his aircraft with the runway. Apparently, while trying to go around for another attempt, the aircraft lost flying speed and fell approximately 200 feet, crashed and burned. Lt. Peterson, 2d. Lt. George M. Wajagich, 2d. Lt. John D. Reep, 2d. Lt. Arthur L. Adler, TSgt. Francis P. Dawson, SSgt. Charles R. Greene, SSgt. Elbert M. Ball, SSgt. Warren R. Harding, Sgt. John E. Saul, Sgt. John P. Vukes, Cpl. Robert P. Merchant, and Pvt. Harry Bullard were killed in the crash.

    The Lord be with them.

  4. You have brought nostalgia to my life through this article. I used to live five minutes from the airport. I still recall my father being part of a car racing team or me eating mangoes from some trees. I also recognized some of the muscians on the video clip. Thanks for bringing us close to our “homeland.”
    Juan, NC

  5. Hi Don – does this flight come in every day? When I came to David last year, I flew Aeroperlas, but it only flew Mon, Wed, Fri & I didn’t get to spend as much time in David as I would have liked because of this. New sched?

  6. Hi Juan. Glad you enjoyed the post.

    Hi Liz – On the previous post I think there was a PDF file that provided a schedule for various airports. I should have written that flights will run four days a week. If I remember right it in Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

  7. In order to make connections to the northern states or Canada, flights need to fly very early in the morning to San Jose, and return very late in the evening. Unfortunately neither the Taca nor Aeroplas flights do this. Maybe someday a Miami to David flight will permit one day travel to Chiriqui, but that time has not yet arrived.

  8. Hi Robin. Thanks for taking the time to comment. On the first post I did, on the new TACA connection to David(http://www.chiriquichatter.net/blog/2008/01/20/more-taca-flight-information/), I included a PDF that can be downloaded (http://www.chiriquichatter.net/blog/photos2008/TACA.pdf). The PDF shows flights to Washington and New York that originate in the evening in David. The New York flight arrives at 12:10 AM. The Washington DC flight says it arrives at 12:40 AM.

  9. At least from Miami, the TACA fare to David is generally much less (by a few hundred dollars) than the COPA flight to PTY and Air Panama or Aeroperlas connection to David. Additionally, with TACA you can leave Miami and be in David by 2:30 the same day. One also saves on the taxi fare required to get to and from Tocumen and Albrook, roughly $50-60.

  10. Friends of ours have booked from Ft. Lauderdale/Miami this coming June and the cost of their flight was around $670 return….pretty good, considering no extra hotel, taxi fares and good departure / arrival times !

    Any photos of the actual plane arriving???

  11. Don Ray:
    Is the plane arriving to David from SJ a turbo prop (it seems to be in the picture)? If I understand correctly, one of this will fly SJ to David and viceversa, and a Jet from SJ to US or back, right?

  12. yes turbo prop…Maybe is a DC-3 Turbo Prop Superconstellation… low cost, and parachutes for all folks…welcome to Panama….and i will dress my best pollera 🙂

    always most important is arrive, be sure put a smile in your suitcase

    David trying make a joke, sorry

  13. Hi Jaime. You are understanding correctly.

    Hi David. You are also correct. Put a smile in the suitcase in case the one on your face falls off.

  14. Since I fly nearly every where I go, even when in a car, I was excited that “O” won’t have to avoid man holes, I’ll just fly to SJO in style…breathless

  15. Has anyone heard of a new, separate international airport to be built a few miles east of the David’s existing regional airport, along the Interamericana highway?

  16. Hi Joe,

    I haven’t heard that rumor. That would seem pretty strange since I understand they are funded to enlarge the current airport and have gone to a great expense moving all of the Car Rental offices into a new building.

  17. Don,

    I checked with TACA and they told me they stopped the San Jose – David flight three months ago. Also, I found David as a TACA destination on its website but could not get any connection to it. If they stopped this flight do you have any idea why? I would expect it to be more popular now, in the dry season.
    Any way to find out if they might re-start this flight path?

    Thank you

  18. The last I heard from TACA they said that they were upgrading their fleet of aircraft. They said they hoped to start again some time in the future.

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