Operational issues are the principal cause of delays. | Miquel À. Cañellas


Eurocontrol, tour operators and airport management are all anticipating that delays at Palma Son Sant Joan Airport will continue throughout the summer. The reasons have become all too clear - personnel shortages (certain European airports and airlines) and demand for travel that has exceeded forecasts.

Delayed flights from some UK and German airports as well as the likes of Amsterdam are having a knock-on impact at Palma, while they have - on occasion - been adding to the accumulation of flights arriving at much the same time. The airports authority Aena says that this affects the entire airport operation, be this passport control or the collection of passengers to be taken to tour operator transfer coaches.

Passenger numbers at the airport are currently similar to those of 2019. The forecast for July and August is that they will exceed 2019 levels, so long as traffic problems do not arise in European airspace. Further strike action is planned for this weekend (easyJet and Ryanair), and it is not being ruled out that other airlines might be affected if negotiations with airline companies are unsatisfactory.

Maria Frontera, the president of the Mallorca Hoteliers Federation, said on Tuesday that the hoteliers are hoping that demand will remain high despite operational issues at airports and airline industrial action. She added that shortages of personnel are affecting flight scheduling for Mallorca during the summer. "Hundreds of flight cancellations are expected in July and August, but we will have to wait and see what the effects are." The situation, she noted, "affects low-cost airlines in particular, as their schedules were more ambitious and cannot be met". In this regard, she said that the UK "is having the most difficulty in recovering all the personnel who moved to other sectors".

As ever, it is worth pointing out that delays at controls in Palma are influenced by the day of the week and the time of day. As for airlines, there are ones that haven't been suffering staffing problems, Jet2 for instance.