Panama celebrates independence. Copa is launching its new budget airline in Panama/Colombia. – Weekly News Roundup, November 28th.

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Welcome to the Panama Weekly News Roundup! Here’s the latest.

The Story of Panama’s Struggle for Independence

Visit Panama, the country’s official tourism website, says that there are three important national holidays when it comes to the celebration of independence. First, there is the first cry of independence, celebrated on November 10. It was the day when the natives of the country announced that they would become a republic. This occurred at the town of La Villa de los Santos.

Second is the Panama Independence Day on November 28, 1821 to celebrate freedom from Spain. After many years of being under the thumb of Spain, Panama finally succeeded in attaining its independence.

And lastly, November 3, 1903 is the date when Panama, which became part of Gran Colombia, detached itself and became a republic on its own. It is not considered the Panama Independence Day, but the day of separation.

Source: Hall of Fame Magazine

$40 Million assigned to ENA

The Ministry of Economy and Finance has authorized $40 million to the National Highway Company (ENA) to initiate the process for the construction of the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal.

The money will be transferred from more than 100 other projects that will now be delayed. The transfer must be approved by the National Assembly’s Budget Committee. The $40 million is in addition to another $100 million in transfers and additional credits requested by the ENA for the project. Those transfers were approved earlier this month. The bridge will cost an estimated $1.2 billion. It will charge a toll to users to recoup its costs.

Source: La Prensa Panama

Destroyer Zumwalt breaks down and gets tow in Panama Canal

The new, high-tech destroyer Zumwalt suffered an engineering casualty Monday evening while passing through the Panama Canal and had to be towed to a berth, the Navy said.

The 3rd Fleet in San Diego was able to provide only a few details late Monday evening, but early reports indicated the problems stemmed from an issue with heat exchangers in the ship’s integrated power plant, which provides electrical power to both the propulsion plant and sensors, weapons and ship’s services.

Third Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry issued a statement late Monday:

“Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, US Third Fleet, has directed USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) to remain at ex-Naval Station Rodman in Panama to address engineering issues that occurred while transiting the Panama Canal. The timeline for repairs is being determined now, in direct coordination with Naval Sea Systems and Naval Surface Forces. The schedule for the ship will remain flexible to enable testing and evaluation in order to ensure the ship’s safe transit to her new homeport in San Diego.”

Source: The Navy Times

Meet Wingo, Copa Holdings’ New Low-Cost International Carrier

Copa Holdings is launching their new, low-cost airline this week, and people in Panama (and Colombia) are very excited about it. The airline will primarily run domestic flights in Colombia, however there will be plenty of international flights, with 10 countries on their current list of destinations. And, there are budget flights from Panama City’s Panama Pacifico airport to Medellin, Bogota, and San Jose (Costa Rica). Here’s more about the airline from one of our recent blog posts.

The main purpose of Wingo, from a business perspective, is to re-brand and re-invent Copa Holdings’ domestic service in Colombia, Copa Colombia, and expand it. It’s also needed to help stop hemorrhaging profits, which have declined in the domestic Colombia market for the past few years. Wingo will take over Copa Colombia’s existing domestic routes, and travel to 16 cities in 10 countries. All of the routes are in Central/South America and the Caribbean, and should be sizably cheaper than bigger, full-service international carriers, giving travelers another great option for low-cost business or pleasure travel.

According to press releases from Copa, the new airline will operate in a point-to-point business model, “with a simple organizational structure and low operating costs …offer[ing] low prices and convenient payment methods, as well as the option for travelers to personalize their travel experience with the amenities and services they value during their flight,” Copa said in a statement. Copa has hired Carolina Breton, the former Director of International Planning and Commercial for Jet Blue, as well as former head of Colombia’s Avianca, to be CEO of Wingo.

About Manoj Chatlani

Manoj Chatlani is a Senior Partner at POLS Attorneys, a full-service law firm in Panama City, Panama. Specializing in offshore services, including asset protection, estate planning, offshore banking, and offshore corporations, as well as Panama immigration and real estate transactions, POLS Attorneys offers clients a streamlined solution to all their Panama legal needs. Manoj is a Panamanian lawyer and holds a law degree from USMA and earned a Masters in Communication Law and Panama Tax law.

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