By Humphrey Carter

PALMA'S Son San Joan airport could have a commercial heliport built as part of a new airport expansion and improvement plan unveiled by Spanish airport and air traffic control body AENA.

The move was welcomed by Majorca's helicopter operators, in particular by the Chief Pilot of Sloane Helicopters at Son Bonet airport, Jonny Greenall. “I think it's an excellent idea. It really is good news and I'd be very happy to have a heliport at the airport,” he said. Greenall explained that helicopters are only allowed to land and take off at the airport on Monday to Thursdays. “COSTING US BUSINESS” “We land at the private jet terminal, to either pick up or drop off clients, but because of the density of air traffic on Friday, Saturday and Sundays, we're not allowed to operate in the area and it is costing us business. “If a potential client has got to jump into a taxi to reach us at Son Bonet, most of the time, they'll make alternative travel arrangements,” he added. The airport improvement plan, which also includes the expansion of terminals A, B and D, is pending approval but Greenall said it would be a significant step forward for the island if the heliport is allowed to go ahead.

In the meantime, discussion over transforming Son Bonet airfield into a new executive jet terminal are still on going. Palma airport's private jet terminal has only recently been expanded and improved but as commercial traffic continues to grow, there is no further room for the private terminal to expand and eventually, it will lose its runway space to commercial jets.