By Humphrey Carter
BALEARIC residents will be able to enjoy domestic and inter-island flight discounts of 38.5 percent from next year while an eventual 50 percent discount has not been ruled out.

Central government delegate to the Balearics, Ramón Socías, yesterday welcomed the announcement by Madrid and said that “while the Socialists are in power, a 50 percent flight discount is very possible.” His only misgiving was that the greater discount was not introduced earlier “it was not for the previous Balearic government, but the continual objections from the former PP government which has led to the delay of a better deal for Balearic residents,” he said. “When we had the opportunity to award the Balearics a 50 percent travel discount, the conservative PP blocked it,” he added emerging from talks with the leader of the Council of Minorca, Joana Barceló.

In reality, that delay means that the increase in travel discount from 33 to 38.5 percent makes no real difference to the consumer when considering how much domestic and inter-island air fares have risen over the past few years. But, at least this is a step towards Balearic residents being able to enjoy half price travel.

Joana Barceló, said yesterday that half price travel “is getting closer and closer and it's one of our main objectives.” In many cases it is cheaper to fly to Britain or Germany than to Minorca, Ibiza or most destinations on mainland Spain.
She also criticised the former conservative government, accusing it of being “irresponsible.” However, the conservative PP hit back yesterday asking the socialists why they only decided to agree to the 38 percent increase and not go for the full 50 percent next year. Spokesperson for the Balearic PP, Miquel Ramis, yesterday called on the socialist government to explain its reluctance to increase resident travel discounts to the full 50 percent. Whether or not the reductions will apply to sea travel remains to be seen, but many of the ferry companies are already trying to compete with the airlines.

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