JustT 24-hours after a Monarch flight bound to Manchester was forced to turn back to Palma with mechanical problems, the President of the Association of Spanish Airlines, Felipe Navío, said yesterday that the last few emergency landings by planes in Spain are due to an increase in concern over safety and security and “has nothing to do with an alleged crisis” with air safety. Navio said that the recent increase in concerns for safety on behalf of pilots “can be in no way criticised” as it is because pilots have become increasingly concerned about safety. This month alone seven airlines have turned back to Barajas airport in Madrid and earlier this month there was a security alert on a flight landing in Palma from Rome. Navio said that the main reason why the seven flights returned to Madrid was that “security is being put before anything else, it's more important than being on time or the regulations.” Navio said that while “air transport has the lowest accident rate” the recent “fervour” for security “has some extra costs for the air lines.” The President of the Association also said yesterday that although Spanish state airline Iberia has announced that national air tariffs are going to rise because if the increase in fuel costs, “private airlines, in the short term, are not planning on hiking their seat prices, but if fuel costs continue to rise, they will have little choice.”

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