STAFF REPORTER

PALMA airport is starting to celebrate half a century of serving fare paying passengers this weekend with a series of receptions, awards and concerts which are programmed to last until the end of the year.

It was on 18th July, 1960, when Son Bonet aerodrome in Palma closed its doors to a tourist airline industry which was bursting at the seams and handed the torch to the neighbouring installations at Son Sant Joan.

Juan Ignacio Lema, President of the Spanish Airports Authority (AENA), said yesterday that the Spanish government had always enlarged the facilities and upgraded the quality of service to keep pace with the development of the tourist industry. “The airport has never been a bottleneck for aircraft operations and passengers,” claimed Lema, adding that further investment of 152 million euros is planned for Son Sant Joan from 2011-2014 in a five-year development project.

A reception on Thursday night, hosted by Balearic President Francesc Antich got the ball rolling for a host of dignitaries in the solarium of the Terminal building to the musical accompaniment of Prima Dona musical quartet. Antich gave awards to airport directors of the past and present, for their contribution to an industry that has changed the face of the Balearics forever.

Guided visits to the airport will be available to the end of the year (Tel.971-789085) as will a series of exhibitions, competitions and conferences.

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