Tampa, Florida -- Grab your passport for Central America! Later this year, you can fly direct from Tampa International Airport to Panama City.

The new non-stop flights to the Republic of Panama's largest and capital city located at the entrance of the Panama Canal were revealed to the tune of Van Halen's 1984 hit, "Panama".

The crowd, which included Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, donned Panama hats during the announcement.

The new Copa Airlines flights have been two years in the making, part of TIA's $2.5billionplan to be in the international spotlight and growing to Central and South America. Mayor Bob Buckhorn says this move by Copa shows Tampa really is a gateway to the Americas.

Flights start departing in December.

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