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Colombia wants to stop paying Panama for airspace usage

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Planes going to San Andres Airport are required to pay a fee to Panama. Planes going to San Andres Airport are required to pay a fee to Panama.
Planes going to San Andres Airport are required to pay a fee to Panama. Bloomberg

The Air Safety Commission of the Colombian Congress will ask the Foreign Ministry to negotiate with Panama so that Colombian airplanes that go to the island of San Andrés stop paying money to use Panama's air space. 

According to figures provided by Senator Juan Manuel Galán, the flights of the Colombian airlines that go to the island of San Andrés pay Panama $18 million dollars annually to use the airspace. 

This is because, geographically, San Andrés is closer to Panama than Colombia. 

"There has been a lack of infrastructure and capacity for control of all airspace by Colombia. In the Caribbean over the San Andrés area, Panama has been charging the airlines that transit through that area," Galán told La FM news channel. 

"The commission is going to deliver an official communication to the authorities so that they can start negotiations with Panama as soon as possible," added the senator. 

On this issue, Daniel Rangel, air traffic controller, explained that this stretch of sea "is the same airspace over the waters of the Caribbean Sea that are currently in dispute with Nicaragua."

Robert Katz, deputy director general of the Civil Aeronautics Authority, explained that in his view this payment will not be suspended because all countries charge for the protection and guidance of aircraft when they pass through their territories. 

Katz hinted that Colombia is in its right to stop paying Panama, as long as they take a longer route and do not pass through the Panamanian air zone.

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