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Enrique Malek International Airport

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Enrique Malek International Airport

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Enrique Malek International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Enrique Malek) is an international airport in the city of David, in the Province of Chiriquí, Panama. It was first built in 1941 as part of an agreement between the U.S and Panama on defense sites to defend the Panama Canal.

Known as David Field or San Jose Field during World War II, the airport was an auxiliary of Howard Field. It accommodated a variety of United States Army Air Force personnel, dedicated for the most part in training and reconnaissance missions over the Southeast Pacific coastline, from Honduras in the north, to Peru in the south.

Enrique Malek Airport in David is close to many tourist destinations on the Pacific coast of Panama. The airport is less than an hour’s ride by car to Boca Chica, considered by fishermen to be the sport fishing capital of Panama. Known for years to only the savviest of sportsmen, this area is gaining in popularity as more eco-resorts (The Resort at Isla Palenque [1], Hotel Cala Mia [2] ) and fishing lodges (Seagull Cove [3], Gone Fishing [4] ) are developing the area.

The port of Pedegral is a five minute ride by car from Enrique Malek Airport, which allows access to some hot travel destinations by water. From the port it’s only a short boat ride to reach Isla Palenque, Boca Brava, Islas Ladrones and Islas Secas which offer opportunities for great diving and surfing, as well.

Enrique Malek Airport is about an hour’s drive by car by the tourist favorite town of Boquete [5] in the Chiriqui Highlands, where you can visit a coffee plantation, hike in a cloud forest, go bird watching to see the famous Resplendent Quetzal or climb to Panama’s highest point, Vulcan Baru, where you can see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on a clear day.

A major expansion of the airport is in the works, which will allow for direct flights to David from the US and Canada. An additional 420 meters of runway were added recently (at a total cost of $300,000). By the end of 2009, this runway expansion project—which allows for three more aircrafts—will be complete. According to a post Tuesday, June 9, 2009 on estrelladepanama.com: The regional director of the Authority of Civil Aeronautics (AAC), Inés de Esquivel, informed La Estrella: “...in the last five years, $1.5 million dollars in investments have been made for the improvement of various areas at the Enrique Malek airport.” [6]