By Staff Reporter
PALMA'S Son Sant Joan airport handled 2.449.612 last month, 7.2 percent more than in September of last year.
Palma airport bosses said yesterday that not only did passengers figures rise significantly last month, but so too did the number of flights handled by air traffic control. However, the airport is still either unable or unwilling to provide a breakdown of passengers for whom Majorca is their final destination and for those who are merely flying into Palma to catch a connecting flight to their final destination.

Last month, the airport handled a six percent rise in take-offs and landings.
Last month's increase matches the trend for the year. Since January, 16.655.083 have used Palma airport, just under five percent more than during the first nine months of last year and the number of flights handled is by a similar amount.

There have been 141.348 take-offs and landings this year, food for thought for the environmentalists and resident associations opposed to increasing the size of the airport so it can eventually be able to handle the best part of 25 million passengers, and their planes, a year.

Of the 16 million plus passengers, 4.115.970, 25 percent, have been British while the Germans, 5.527.185 of them, have been predominant although, again, there are no clear figures as to how many are using the German airline hub which has been set up at Palma airport for connecting flights. There have also been more Spanish passengers than previous years, 4.396.858, with the domestic tourist market now being the island's third most important.

Palma-based Spanish airlines backed calls yesterday from the airline industry for the increase in airport Spanish taxes to be frozen until the price of fuel has fallen.

Airport taxes account for 4.4 percent of airline operating costs and the proposed increases of three percent in airport taxes approved on October 8 by the Spanish government could lead to another increase in air fares.

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