The Balearic government is not amused by Madrid's refusal to increase resident flight discounts to 50 per cent from the present 33 per cent. Balearic leader Francesc Antich is also angry over the way in which Madrid treats the Canaries with kid gloves. Domestic flights between the mainland and the island have been declared a public service, while the Balearics are still having to fight for concessions. While Madrid will not up the discounts, central government has said there is nothing to stop the Balearic government taking the initiative, at its own cost that is. Balearic transport minister Francesc Quetglas hit back, saying that the local government would increase the discounts to 50 per cent “and more,” providing Madrid hands over management of regional airports to Palma, therefore releasing necessary funds to cover the costs. Antich however warned Madrid yesterday that, if it does not agree to the increase, the Balearic government will take the matter up in the Madrid courts. Between 1998 and 2001, the price of flights between the islands and the mainland rose by 60 per cent, compared to just six per cent for flights to and from the Canaries. Over the past 12 months, airport taxes have been hiked and airlines are having to meet extra security costs, all of which have added further to ticket prices and thus reduced the real value of the 33 per cent discount.

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