Tomás Melgar, Palma Airport Director. | M. À. Cañellas

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Tomás Melgar has been Director of Palma Airport since September 2019 and in that time he’s experienced the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook, 'Brexit' and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on air and passenger traffic.

Son Sant Joan has been slowly recovering since March, thanks to the vaccination programme and Covid health protocols and Melgar says it’s vital that Mallorca has a tourist season this year.

Are you surprised by how air traffic is evolving?
“The weekly average of 22% in May has already increased by 35% for June. We can’t make forecasts beyond three weeks, but there will be a major leap in operations once we know what’s happening with the British market."

What level of traffic do you expect this summer compared to 2019?

“In June, we could recover 50% of the traffic we had in 2019, there are plenty of flights and planes, but it depends on demand. Things are very variable, but that’s our forecast at this time."

Is the normalisation of air traffic in line with the control measures?

“At Son Sant Joan it's in line with the evolution of the pandemic, the control measures that are in place and the restrictions between countries. People are looking forward to coming here, there is demand for Mallorca."

What's your reaction to criticism over queues at passport control?

“The queues on international flights don't exceed 15 minutes and they’re a bit longer on domestic flights."

Will the Airport open up more as air traffic increases?

“This Thursday we are opening Module D for domestic flights; Module C is for international traffic and Module A will be operational as soon as London authorises trips to Mallorca. Activity is progressively recovering, we are ready and what's more, we're looking forward to it.”

How would you describe your pandemic experience?

"The pandemic has put all of us through difficult times. Seeing an empty airport and the impact the pandemic has had on the island's economy is not pleasant. We want everything to be up and running again, because the Mallorcan economy depends on the Airport being operational.”

Did the airport improvements continue during the pandemic?

"We stopped for a few months, then the work resumed and accelerated. Having some areas of the airport closed has allowed us to run them without creating problems for operators. Between 2020 and 2021, all the works in the DORA will have been executed. The renovation of the northern runway which is costing 18.5 million euros, the Automated Baggage Handling System, the change of flooring in each module and a new room in the Arrivals area. We did not expand capacity, we just improved services and modernised them to make them more efficient and competitive."

What's happening with the complaints from stores and commercial dealers at the Airport?

“AENA has made an offer which many dealers have already accepted, but others are moving forward with their claims. Most of the shops in the Modules have already opened their doors, the ones in Module D will open on Thursday and as air traffic increases more will open.”

What message has been given overseas from the Balearic Islands?

“That all the appropriate measures have been taken in the Balearics to reduce infection and control the pandemic, which gives us an external image of being a safe destination.”

Will there be any real estate development?
“The real estate plan has slowed down because other things were a priority during the pandemic."

How do you think turnover will evolve this year?

"We hope that in the second half of 2021 we can recover some of the revenue we’ve lost in the last year, the numbers will go up as traffic evolves."

AENA Palma holds operational meetings every week and coordinates with operators and others involved in airport activity.

“We have common objectives and we want to reactivate airport activity as soon as possible,” says Tomás Melgar, “The meetings analyse the latest developments and forecasts for the next two weeks, because the current situation is complicated by the volatility in all indicators."