Palma.—The Balearic government, eager to break up the Spanish airport authority's (AENA) monopoly, is now planning to propose a new Balearic Airport Authority.

The idea is that the regional body would work under the umbrella of AENA but would have the freedom to set airport taxes and operating rates which are proving to be a huge stumbling block, especially for winter tourism.

No airline
As Michael O'Leary, the Chairman of Ryanair, has pointed out on numerous occasions, no airline is going to pay the same to operate out of Palma during the winter than during the peak, busy summer months of July and August.

It would appear, with Ryanair rapidly expanding its hub at Palma airport while other airlines begin to reduce their operations, the local government has finally realised that airport taxes are proving to be a major problem.

Progress was being made in the build up to last year's local and general elections.
The Socialist government wanted to begin selling off the country's main airports, including Palma eventually, and there was a window opening up for a local consortium including regional government, business, commerce and tourism, having a role to play in a new management model of Palma airport.

However, the change of government has put an end to that and now the Balearic government is having to think again on how best to tackle the problem of Palma's high airport operating fees which are some of the steepest in Europe.

What the Balearic government wants to do is make it viable to fly to Palma all year round.