By Ray Fleming

THE Balearics is now even more isolated. The demise of the Spanish airline, Spanair, could mean a reduction of 20 percent of flights from Palma to a number of national and international destinations. As we have seen this winter there are only a handful of flights to Britain, fewer to Germany and now less to the mainland. Now, all this will change once the summer season gets underway but for the time being, we are looking at a nightmare scenarip. The time has come for the Balearic government to look carefully at the shortage of flights and act accordingly.

I know for a fact that one British airline just wants some government support, in the form of promotion, to operate more flights during the winter. It is vital that the island has adequate air links with the mainland and the main European capitals. Palma has one of the busiests airports in the world but during the winter it only operates at a fraction of its full capacity. I think we have heard enough talk over recent weeks and months from the Balearic government over tourism; now is the time for action. The best way forward is to get the airport authority, AENA, to reduce landing fees at the airport during the winter. This should convince more airlines to operate winter flights. Perhaps the Spanish government should also start to look at the airport authority itself. Perhaps, privatisation is the best way forward. Whatever happens, something needs to be done and quickly.

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