THE air base in the Port of Pollensa is opening up its facilities to the new European markets fulfilling its function as a holiday destination for staff of the military of NATO member states.
Last year, there were 40'000 overnight stays registered at the base, largely made during the high tourist season. For the first time, it was visited by soldiers coming from Austria and the Czech Republic.
The Colonel in Chief of the military base, Vicente Sanchez Salgado, released the figures last month during a speech made on the occasion of an annual Air Force celebration.
Sanchez took the opportunity to explain the importance of the Pollensa base in terms of the recreational facilities it provides to military personnel and their families. Housing is provided to personnel from other European army staff as part of established agreements over exchange, he said.
The base also acts as a training ground for air crews being schooled in the art of emergency survival, and search and rescue. At any given time, there is a rotating presence of some 45 military staff, said the Colonel in Chief.
The Ministry of Defence insists that the military base in the Port of Pollensa is of strategic national importance and has refused to allow members of the general public to use the facilities there, despite moves to the contrary by both Pollensa town council and by Central Government Congress itself. Both Council and Congress have wanted to set up an investigating committee to see what part of the base can be feasibly used by the general public.
The Majorcan Socialist party (PSM) said in its local magazine published this week that the Ministry of Defence is making much ado about nothing about the importance of the base in Pollensa.
A PSM commentator said that if the base was really of such significance, there are no circumstances under which the Ministry would allow it to be used by military staff from other countries for holiday purposes.