THE Ministry for Tourism, Industry and Commerce yesterday confirmed that the Balearics was the country's most popular low-cost airline destination last month and Palma, Spain's busiest low-cost airport.

What is more, despite the volcanic ash crisis, Spanish airports handled nearly three million low cost passengers during the month, five percent more than in May, 2009.

The Balearics accounted for a 30 percent share of the low cost passenger market followed by Cataluña, (19.4 percent), Andalusia (14.6 percent), Valencia (13.6 percent), the Canary Islands (11.6 percent) and Madrid just 9.3 percent. But, the scheduled airlines are still in the market.

Of the 5.3 million international passengers handled by Spanish airports last month, scheduled airlines enjoyed a 1.7 percent increase in passengers and that is expected to rise as more scheduled airlines, in particular British carriers such as British Airways CityFlyer and Monarch, launch regular scheduled services to the Balearics to cater for those passengers who have tired with all the extra costs and discomfort of travelling with the low cost carriers.

The British dominate the low cost market, seven out of every ten low cost passengers flying into Spain are from Britain, Italy and Germany.
Of the three leading European low cost carriers, Ryanair, easyJet and Air Berlin dominate the market in that order.