Palma.—The Balearic Islands remains one of the top regions of the country in terms of its popularity as a low cost travel destination, Central Government's Ministry for Industry confirmed yesterday.

With Britons favouring short haul European breaks this summer, the popularity of Spanish destinations has increased dramatically, ranking Majorca as the fifth most sought-after holiday destination in the country.

Research showed that in May this year, 3.4 million international passengers came to Spain with low cost airlines, 11.5 percent more than in the same period in 2010. The same sources revealed that nearly 60 percent of all passengers to and from Spain last month chose low cost airlines. The most used companies were Ryanair, accounting for 19.4 percent of the total, followed at a distance by easyJet (8.6%) and Air Berlin (6.8%).

The principal client markets for low cost flights in Spain last month were from the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany.
The British accounted for 38.6 percent of all low cost passengers last month, an increase of 9.9 percent compared with the same month last year. Meanwhile, easyJet is to establish a new base at Southend airport with services to 10 destinations including the Balearics, Barcelona and Faro.

Southend will become the airline's 11th United Kingdom base and will be linked by eight trains an hour to London.
A new terminal, owned by the Stobart group opens at the airport in the autumn.