By Humphrey Carter PALMA'S low cost airline boom shows no sign of slowing down with market leaders easyJet and Air Berlin announcing new connections and extra flights. EasyJet has not only this week announced new connections from Palma and Glasgow and plans to expand its operations in Ibiza and Minorca, but also that last year, it flew 900'000 passengers into Palma and is this year hoping to hit the one million mark. Last year's easyJet passenger figures for Palma show a 15 percent increase on 2004 and establishes the airline as Palma airport's eighth main international carrier. August was its peak month handling over 120'000 passengers at Palma airport while December was its quietest month posting just 37.946 passengers. The airline has also seen its passenger figures for Ibiza and Minorca grow and this summer intends to boost its connections between the island and Liverpool. EasyJet already flies from Bristol and London to Minorca, while it plans to link Ibiza with Milan. Out of Palma, the British airline started in 1995, flies to nine airports in the UK, Germany and Switzerland. The airline also plans to set up a new Spanish hub in Madrid having apparently decided against Palma. However, Palma is where Air Berlin has established its Spanish hub and it announced yesterday that it is increasing its connections from Majorca to Ibiza and the mainland and Portugal. It is also going to start operating earlier flights into Palma from key German airports. Other low coast airlines operating into Palma from the UK include bmiBaby, Jet 2 and Monarch and this year over 60 percent of all passengers flying into Palma's Son San Joan airport arrived on board a low cost airline. According to a report published last week by the Institute for Tourist Studies, the Balearics' three airports handled 465.717 low cost passengers during the first three months of the year, 15.2 percent more than the first quarter of 2005. Palma is now Spain's busiest low cost airline base handling more no frills fliers than Barcelona, Malaga and Alicante. The low cost airlines are winning at the cost of the scheduled carriers. Their Balearic passenger figures for the first three months of the year were down by 15.2 percent. Hence Spain's main carrier Iberia has announced plans to launch a low cost airline.