Air travel should cost less, says Antich

The Balearic government is determined to secure a greater discount on domestic flights for local residents and now intends to suggest to Madrid that central government adopt a similar compensation scheme as used by the French with regards to flights to and from Corsica. The concept of this latest proposal is that the cost of a flight from Palma to a mainland destination is compared to a flight or rail journey covering the same distance between two points on the mainland and the state covers the cost of the difference in price. Balearic leader Francesc Antich, said that the idea is based on the system applied in Corsica by the French government and, once it has been adapted for the Balearics, will be put to central government. However, Antich said that this latest initiative is not a substitute for the Balearic government's demand that resident discounts be increased from 33 to 50 per cent and that domestic flights between the islands and the mainland be declared a public service. Antich said that while the Corsica plan offers the same cash benefits as public service air connections, it is the latter which will guarantee a regular flight schedule. The Balearic government wants to see residents entitled to economically priced tickets on board frequent flights. Antich said that, for example, Balearics air passengers are paying 424 per cent more than mainlanders travelling similar distances by train. He explained the price of flying the 230 kilometres from Palma to Barcelona is about 137 euros, while covering the same distance between Tarragona and Zaragoza, costs just 23.5 euros. Antich pointed out that central government is legally bound to ensure that all residents are entitled to equal opportunities, whether they live on the mainland or in the islands, hence why, if Madrid fails to co-operate, the Balearic government will look to resolve the issue in court. He repeated that over the past few years, Balearic flight tariffs have risen by 65 per cent, where as in the Canaries, where domestic flights have been declared a public service the increase has been just 8 per cent.


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