Staff reporter

THE vice-president of the Balearic government, Rosa Estarás, yesterday declared herself to be in favour of a price re-structuring for the cost of inter-island aircraft travel similar to that already in existence in the Canary Islands. She would like to see the airline companies themselves bring down their prices of this public service. “We're going to look at what the airlines are currently offering because it could be that the tariff is affordable and there will therefore be no need for public funding” she confirmed. Estarás reported that a meeting to address this issue between the Minister responsible for Public Works, Francisco Alvarez-Cascos and his counterpart in the Balearic government, Mabel Cabrer, is “imminent”.

A viable inter-island public air service could thus be a “reality” of the near future.
The vice-president commented that the necessary administration work is currently being dealt with so that when agreement has been reached between central and local government, a forum should be set up to enable the airlines to present their case. It is then hoped that a blueprint can be put before the European Union for its final approval.
Estarás pointed out that apart from the development of the Balearics' Special Régime (REB), the new government's priorities will be to improve the road network, availability of housing and the reinstatement of traditional tourist markets as well as the fostering of new ones. Additionally, the government Executive, led by Jaume Matas as president, will try to bolster investment confidence in order to secure higher employment. Policies aimed at supporting the socially underprivileged will be another aim of the new Balearic government working in conjunction with the Council of Majorca, added Estarás. Separately, the vice-president appealed to the “sense of responsibility”, and “ethics” of those belonging to the socialist coalition who are still holding key positions in the Islands' government. She felt that by leaving their posts, it would honourably leave the way open to counterparts within the Partido Popular, democratically allowing others a turn in power. The previous Balearic government, which even considered starting a new Balearic airline, was pushing for the present 33 per cent discount for residents on domestic air and sea travel, to be increased to 50 per cent, but central government refused to meet the extra costs, suggesting that perhaps the Balearic government should cover the difference. The public backed an increase in travel discounts. Over the past five years the cost of air travel has risen much more than 33 per cent. Flights between the mainland and the Balearics are some of the most expensive in the European Union, but central government would like to see a greater level of competition on routes to the Balearics, which in turn will lead to more competitive prices, a much better service and provide far more benefits for travellers.