Joan Collins THE German low cost airline Air Berlin is hoping to grow by 15 percent in the Balearics this year, thanks to the rise in its activity during the medium and low season months and its transporting of 5 million passengers to the islands, according to their director for Spain and Portugal, Alvaro Middelmann. During the presentation of the new Air Berlin programme in Palma yesterday, Middelmann said that the growth of the airline in the low season months will contribute to a better use of the infrastructures, given the limitations imposed by the limited hotel capacity during the winter. Middelmann said that the airline had increased its weekly flights between the Balearics and Germany by 20 to cope with the big demand which there will be in the Summer, according to their calculations. He also remarked that the airline has started two new weekly flights between Majorca and Minorca. With this rise in the frequency of Air Berlin's flights they are trying to satisfy the rise in demand from German tourists which they expect in 2006, repeated Middelmann. He attributed the reactivation of German tourism to the efforts which have been made in the Balearics to improve the tourist product. According to Middelmann, the recent opening of new hotels in Majorca demonstrated that people believe in the destination and that they are disposed to invest in it which will be reflected in the figures for the next season. In his opinion, the football World Cup celebration will not reduce the number of visitors to the Balearics as the people who like football have realised that they can perfectly combine the two things and see a football match and then go to the beach. He commented that Air Berlin's flights to Minorca will not only improve the connections between the Balearic islands but also make sure that the island is communicating with those points which connect to the hub (centre of traffic distribution). The director of Air Berlin also said that there had been a consolidation of operations which the company put in place at the beginning of November between the Balearics and destinations like Amsterdam, Santiago de Compostela and Murcia. He calculated that this, together with the flights which Air Berlin offers between Spain and Helsinki and Copenhagen means that the company has been able to complete its connections between the centres of communication which it has established.