A study is to be carried out shortly in to the viability of operating a railway from Calvia to Lluchmajor via Palma and the airport. The Balearic Ministry for Transport and Public Works has shelved plans for a rail link between the airport and the centre of Palma, claiming that, considering the cost of constructing the link, the number of passengers the railway would carry does not make the project viable. But linking Calvia with the Playa de Palma, with stops in Palma and at the airport, is a more attractive proposal. The Minister for Public Works, Francesc Quetglas, said yesterday that funding for the project, which would be costly, could come from central government. Madrid recently offered the Balearics the opportunity to sign up to Spain's high speed rail project, which would not only ensure substantial funding, but the services of railway experts, planners and engineers. Francesc Quetglas said that Palma airport is one of the most important in Europe, considering the millions of Europeans it handles every year while transport is vital because of the huge number if package tourists who, for the time being, are completely dependent on the island's massive fleet of coaches. But, the coach sector is reaching its peak with an ever increasing number of tourists opting for hire cars or an alternative form of transport. A rail link to Lluchmayor, the city and Calvia would provide the most suitable and efficient alternative. Calvia is Europe's biggest tourist resort accounting for the bulk of holidaymakers coming to the island in the summer and Francesc Quetglas said that the hire car industry will be unable to meet the demands of the growing holiday market, especially, if by 2015, over 30 million people a year are using the airport. In the long term, should the Calvia-Lluchmayor link prove viable, visitors, especially the independent holidaymaker, will be able to travel all the way to Alcudia, Inca, Sa Pobla and Manacor by train. While the Ministry push ahead with their study, the Insular Council of Majorca will be finalising its plans for the airport city unveiled on Monday. Insular Councillor for Planning, Rafael de Lacy, said that the airport has to be made an important part of the island's future, but its role has to be carefully planned. We have to think about what we need now and also what we're going to need in the future, he said. The airport city could become the economic and commercial hub of the island.
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