Staff Reporter A number of airline companies based in Palma have decided to transfer some of their aircraft to airports in Italy, Greece and Portugal due to the current low demand for seats from Balearic tour operators.

Mario Hidalgo, director general of one of these companies, “Hola Airlines” confirmed yesterday in Palma that the charter organisations of Futura, Iberworld, LTE and Hola Airlines have based some of their craft in airports with greater capacity of generating business for this sector of the airline industry. “We've got four aircraft in Hola Airlines, two of them are based in Greece and Italy another two in Palma and Madrid. The trend of companies such as ours is to operate away from larger airports in order not to compete with more powerful airline companies” explained Hidalgo.

The director added that the business in high season is looking “poor” in the Balearics, but “excellent” in countries such as Italy, Portugal and Greece. “The majority of tour operators make use of their own airlines and don't usually sign up contracts for seats in companies such as ours. There are markets where we no longer sell seats, such as the German market, which has “got rid of” Spanish companies and increased the regularity of their own flights at very reduced prices”. “In the United Kingdom, Hola Airlines remains a very small part of the charter airline industry”, furthered Hidalgo.
Specifically, there is an increased number of German airline companies with flights originating in, and heading for, the Balearic Islands. This growth can be traced to the rising level of applications for “slots” (airport flight timetabling system allocated to company operations), which go to make up the “hub” (air traffic distribution pattern).

Aviation companies which have been operating in the “hub” for six years, using Palma as their base, are Air Berlin, Thomas Cook, LTU and Hapag Lloyds. These companies organise the transport network of passengers coming from other European airports.

Some of them finish their journey in Palma, but others go on to a number of other destinations, especially to other parts of Spain and Portugal.