There is high terrain to the north of the airport. The Tocumen VOR-DME (Ident: TUM) and non-directional beacon (Ident: AT) are located just south of the field. During World War II, Panamanian airports were leased exclusively by the U.S. military. The nearest airport to Tocumen was the Paitilla Point Airfield. Several airports were built to protect the Panama Canal from foreign aggression. Tocumen International Airport was inaugurated on June 1, 1947 by President Enrique A. Jiménez, and airport operations began before the construction works were completed. The administrative building/passenger terminal was inaugurated seven years later, during the administration of Colonel Jose Antonio Remon Cantera. The old airport building, which currently is being used as a cargo terminal, The current passenger terminal was inaugurated on August 15, 1978 and operations began on September 5 of the same year. The Tocumen International Airport is one of the few airports in the region that has two landing runways able to serve the largest commercial aircraft operating today.