Balearic finance minister Joan Mesquida has written to the central minister of development, Francisco Alvarez Cascos, seeking greater discounts on air fares for island residents in view of the price increases introduced by carriers. At present, residents are entitled to a 33 per cent discount in air fares to the Peninsula. The government is seeking further reductions to paliate the increases introduced following the terrorist attacks on the US. In his letter, Mesquida refers to the negative effects on local residents of the increase in fuel prices and airport taxes. Added to this are plans by carriers to add a surcharge of eight euros to tickets to cover the increase in insurance following the September 11 tragedy. Mesquida also points out that air and maritime transport are essential services for the islands.