By Humphrey Carter
MAJORCA just about offers everything a multi millionaire could want from private jets to super yachts and luxury hotels and Michelin star restaurants. But looking ahead to next year's America's Cup in Valencia and super yacht regattas in Palma, there is a lobby pressing the local authorities for a heliport in the Port of Palma.
The Balearics, Majorca in particular, stands to benefit greatly from the America's Cup in Valencia with super yacht owners looking to moor either in or off the island and, if and when possible, chopper into Valencia for the regattas.
Industry sources say that the main problem with Valencia is that, once you get out of the city, it's ugly and there are very few luxury hotels and marinas. Hence super yacht owners are already making plans and reserving moorings in Majorca for the regatta.
Yachting aside, Alastair Sutherland, the operations manager of the Majorca-based Sloane Helicopters which now has a fleet of six helicopters based at Son Bonet airport, is in talks with the Balearic government and Port Authority about installing a heliport in the Port of Palma.
Negotiations seem to be progressing well and, albeit provisionally at first, a heliport may be set up on the new dock area which is currently being built on reclaimed land out in front of the Cathedral.
Sutherland says that, port to port, flying time from Palma to Valencia and Barcelona, which has two heliports, is just 40 minutes. More and more wealthy people are using helicopters for short trips, be they professional or pleasure flights.
What is more, with the Balearics continuing its push to develop more up-market, top-end tourism, there is a growing number of heli-friendly hotels in Minorca, Majorca and Ibiza.
Just think, a luxury holiday touring the Balearics and no hassle of airports and hire cars. Sutherland says that a heliport “would be a great benefit to the port of Palma and Majorca, its luxury yacht customers and the cruise liner industry. Traditionally heliports in marinas and cities, just like in Barcelona, are located in areas that represent minimum impact on the environment and population while adding a valuable service to VIP clientele from all industries.” While based at Son Bonet, he says it is too far away from the port to make the service viable as the whole beauty of port heliports is that the clients are flown to within just minutes of their destination, be it yacht or city centre.
The two regattas Majorca's two helicopter operators will be catering for next year are the Royal Huisman Regatta between June 13 and 15 and then the Superyacht Cup from June 16 to 19. “Even is we can get the Port Authority to install a provisional heliport at least we can use that as a vehicle to prove just how important and useful a permanent landing site would be,” Sutherland said yesterday.


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