Aerotib is the public transport service for resorts from the airport. | Archive

The airports authority Aena is to establish a system whereby private transport operators can sell tickets for services from Palma Son Sant Joan Airport to resorts in Mallorca.

Aena have been discussing this system with the Aviba association of travel agencies and the CAEB Confederation of Balearic Business Associations, the president of Aviba, Francesc Mulet, saying that "competition at the airport will be healthy". "The aim is to avoid the situation of last year and solve a problem that affected the island's tourism image. Tourists will have more options when it comes to going to their destinations."

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The situation of last year to which Mulet is referring was one of a shortage of public transport - buses and taxis. He adds that "the level of saturation" (long queues and delays) experienced last summer at the airport "does not have to be repeated when there is time to adopt appropriate measures". As to opposition from taxi drivers, he says that "it is clear that if they cannot cope, we must give room to more competition and solve all the public transport problems".

It is understood that Aena are to put the service out to tender, private transport operators themselves having been demanding that free competition prevail and that "pirate" transport is prevented. There will be ticket offices in arrivals, but it is unclear - as yet - how this system can be compatible with a Balearic government insistence that sales by private operators must be in advance. This requirement goes to the heart of the problems caused by pirate operators who pick up at the airport without prior bookings.