Joan Collins THE low cost airlines brought 3'395'071 international passengers to the Balearics in 2005, some 20.4 percent more that in 2004, contrasting sharply with a 7.1 percent fall in tourists coming to Spain and the islands on traditional airlines. According to a report by the Institute of Tourist Studies, this highlights the continuing success of the low cost airlines in the Balearics. This is especially so in the case of Palma airport which dealt with 21.3 percent more international travellers via these companies in 2005 (3 million passengers). This contrasts sharply with the fall of 5.7 percent of people travelling with traditional airlines (4.48 million). Nevertheless, the increase in people travelling to the Balearics with low cost airlines is less than the national average. In 2005 airports over the whole of Spain dealt with 30.8 percent more passengers flying with low cost airlines. This was mainly thanks to the growth of these operators in Barajas airport (Madrid) (48.3 percent) and the airports in Valencia (50 percent). The Balearics dealt with 22.2 percent of the total “low cost” passengers arriving in Spain in 2005. Almost all of these passed through Palma (20.2 percent), making Palma the airport which receives most travellers via these airlines. This is ahead of Malaga (14.5 percent and 2.2 million), Alicante (12.2 percent), Barcelona (12.2 percent), and Girona (10.4 percent). On the other hand, the traditional airlines are carrying progressively less passengers to the islands, with 6'093 million, 7.1 percent less, during the year. This is a situation which mainly affects Palma airport. In December alone a total of 66'676 travellers came to the islands with these airlines, some 12 percent less than the previous December. However, more passengers arrived at Balearic airports with low cost airlines in December than with traditional airlines (some 127'539 travellers), which was 0.2 percent more than in December 2004. This, in turn, was only 13.1 percent of all arrivals throughout the year but it is a low season month. The report said that this rise is less than in previous periods but it did not give any figures. In contrast to holiday destinations in the Peninsula, most of the tourists arriving in the Balearics in December (57.8 percent) were from different airports in Germany, most being from Berlin, Hamburg, Fuhlsbuettel and Dusseldorf. The study puts this down to the fact that 96.7 percent of passengers came with Air Berlin in a month (December) when arrivals by low cost airlines represented 65.7 percent of the total arrivals by air in the islands. In total, 9 million foreign passengers arrived in the Balearics by air during 2005. This was 1.2 percent more than in 2004, which was 18.4 percent of the national total, the second biggest percentage, behind Madrid (21.5 percent) and before the Canaries (18.2 percent) and Catalonia (18.1 percent). In 2005 7.5 million foreign travellers passed through Palma airport, 3.7 percent more than in 2004 (which was 14.7 percent of all arrivals in Spain).