THE Balearic Minister for Public Works, Housing and Transport, Mabel Cabrer, has announced that the planned inter-island public air service is scheduled to commence full operations in the Balearics prior to Christmas this year. After meeting with the director general of Civil Aviation, José Ignacio Estaún, Mabel Cabrer explained that the Ministry of Public Works has approved the text for the Declaration of a Public Air Service. Cabrer furthered that apart from including flights between Palma and Ibiza and between Majorca and Minorca, the Declaration will incorporate the inauguration of a daily air service between Minorca and Ibiza. This will come into effect in spite of “the poor cost-effectiveness” that this link offers the airline companies. The Balearic Minister for Transport stated that the Declaration details that the cost of the flight between Minorca and Ibiza, which will be able to refuel in Majorca, “is a little higher” than the cost of a ticket between Minorca and Palma. On this point, she said that the Declaration obliges the air service to enable the users of the flights from Minorca and Ibiza to link up with a plane to the Peninsula within a time framework of two hours. In spite of the fact that the text does not currently make reference to the flights from the archipelago to the Peninsula, the Minister clarified that “this doesn't mean that in a second phase, it cannot be achieved” as part of the same declaration. Cabrer indicated that, apart from applying a maximum tariff, a minimum discount of 10 percent will be incorporated for young people under 22 years of age, senior citizens over 65, and people needing medical attention in Majorca. She explained that next week, a print out of the text will be remitted to the Balearic government and to the five airline companies who will operate in the archipelago; Aebal, Air Nostrum, Air Europa, Spanair and Air Berlin. A copy will also go to the National Spanish Association of Airline companies (AECA) so that they can comment. Cabrer added that as from the second week in September, a date will be fixed to negotiate the text of the Declaration with the Transport Commissioner of the European Union, Loyola de Palacio. Once the Commissioner has given the go-ahead and the Union's Ministers have approved, the declaration will be published in the Offical Bulletins of the European Union and of the Balearics. The publication will give details of frequency of flights and maximum prices delineated by the declaration.

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