Palma.—The Development Ministry has been threatening to shake the travel discount programme up since before the end of last year when there was serious concern that the travel discount would be scrapped all together.

However, it appears that central government has agreed to rethink its plans after heavy opposition from consumer groups, opposition parties and even the airlines in the Balearics, the Canaries and Spain's North African enclaves of Melia and Ceuta - all entitled to the travel discount because of their isolation from mainland Spain and dependence on air or sea travel.

The new system will, it appears, be based on fixed maximum discounts, which if flying to Barcelona or Madrid from Palma, for example, would range from 70 to 100 euros, what ever the price of the ticket, there will no longer be an automatic 50 percent discount.

According to the Ministry for development in Madrid, the new scheme is still being studied and no definite decision has been taken.
But what is clear is that residents are going to lose their entitlement to 50 percent discount one way or another.
Even the Partido Popular government here in Palma is at loggerheads with its bosses in Madrid.
Spokesperson for the PP in the Balearics, Miguel Ramis, said that the 50 percent discount is “non negotiable.” Block Madrid
But, can the Balearics block Madrid considering central government is enjoying stronger powers over the regional governments it has been called to bail out over the past few months.

The Secretary General of PSIB Balearic Socialist Party, Francina Armengol, accused the government of “attacking the general public and holding them ransom for living on an island.” She went on to accuse the Balearic government of having no back bone and being unprepared to stick up for the population and defend its rights in the face of Madrid. “This is just another sign of “how the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is constantly and permanently mistreating the Balearics,” she added.
What has angered the Socialists even more is that while central government is considering scrapping the Balearic travel discount, Madrid is prepared to start providing subventions for people using the high speed AVE train on the mainland.

The spokesperson for the PSM-ExM, Biel Barcelo, said yesterday that the talk of axing the travel discount is “intolerable .” “We are urging the Balearic government to do everything possible to block this change in policy and not buckle under the pressure of central government to the detriment of the Balearic people once again.” Fairly priced “Easy and fairly priced air and sea communication between the islands and the mainland is absolutely vital for Balearic travellers and business,” Barcelo added.

What is more, if each air route is going to have fixed rates, some 150 routes are going to have to be examined.


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