Palma.—The Majorcan Tourist Board has asked the Spanish National Airports Authority (AENA) that it keeps up the hours of aircraft operation at Son Bonet aerodrome in Palma, instead of imposing restrictions as planned in a recently announced airport efficiency drive.

In theory, a scaling down of activity at Son Bonet came into effect yesterday but the President of the Majorcan Tourist Board has sent a letter to AENA's Director José Manuel Vargas urging him not to keep restrictions in place because the Board believes it will have a negative effect on the island economy. The Board claims that in turn, this will not contribute to the recovery of the country as a whole.

Although there has been no official declaration to the effect, it is believed that AENA will not apply the new efficiency drive ruling until next year, allowing several months for operating and servicing companies to work their own timetables around the aerodrome's opening hours.

Companies operating out of Son Bonet provide an average of 60'000 euros a year each in tax and fuel, sums which the Tourist Board believe will be missed by the regional government if the Airports Authority were to restrict operating hours.

The companies themselves have expressed concern over the efficiency drive saying that limited hours at Son Bonet may force them to take their business elsewhere to ensure they can provide services to customers as required.

No effect
Meanwhile, at Son Bonet aerodrome, there has been little noticeable effect of restrictions even though no flights will be accepted after 4pm. All 16 bookings up until the end of this month have already been accepted.

However, Ports and Airports Director Antoni Deudero yesterday described the economic impact of the new timetable as “brutal.” Son Bonet, he explained is only used for private flights and flying schools. He pointed out that neighbouring Son Sant Joan airport is one of AENA's most profitable and that it is essential that Son Bonet provides fully functional complementary services such as the provision of fire-fighting aircraft.