The governments of Canada and Panama are both interested in expanding flight frequencies between the two countries, says the Panamanian Foreign Ministry.
The issue was discussed during a Sunday March 17 meeting in Panama City between Panamanian Foreign Minister, Fernando Nunez Fabrega, and the Minister of State of Canada, Diane Ablonczy, to expand bilateral relations.
Nunez Fabrega said that the Rio Hato airport will be inaugurated soon and would be a great start to increase the flow of tourists through Canadian Airlines flights.
The Panamanian foreign minister suggested a review of the bilateral Air Transport Agreement, as well as streamlining the procedures for granting visas to Panamanian nationals. The difficulty of obtaining a visa to Canada has long been a sore point, and was raised by media representatives when Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Panama to discuss the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries. Nunez Fabrega even suggested that consideration be given to the abolition of visas in general, or at least as a first step, to Panamanian diplomats, in reference to the principle of reciprocity. Panamanians visiting the UK for less than six months do not need a visa.
The Canadian minister said that her country shared the interest with Panama of being a member of the Pacific Alliance, a mechanism in which the two countries have observer status.
She said Canada would at the next meeting of the Alliance on May 23 in the Colombian city of Cali, with the aim of achieving full membership.