THE first reactions to the central government's proposals for public service flights between the Balearic Islands appeared yesterday.
The proposals are a maximum fare of 72 euros (48 with the resident discount) for flights from Palma to Ibiza and Mahon and 101 euros (67.7 with discount) between Ibiza and Minorca, with a guaranteed number of seats. The socialist party said that in practice only 50 per cent of the seats would have the special fare and they would benefit tourists rather than residents. Former Balearic transport minister Francesc Quetglas, described the proposals as “timid and totally insufficient,” although he admitted they represented an “advance compared to the current situation.” When he was in office he had proposed a fare of 60 euros and pointed out that the new fares would only be applicable to half the seats in each plane or 75 per cent of the total seats available all year. He also claimed that residents would only benefit from 20 to 30 per cent of the cheap seats as the tickets would be snapped up in advance by tour operators. Socialist leader Francesc Antich said that he would write to government chief Jaume Matas suggesting improvements to the proposals.
The United Left (EU), however, criticised the proposals, claiming that they did not cover “the needs or the expectations” of residents.
In a communique, it said the proposals “excluded flights to the Peninsula” and pointed out that the guaranteed fare was 18 euros dearer than many promotions. The party also said the frequency of the flights was “insufficient”. Felipe Navío, chairman of the Spanish Airlines Association (AECA) described the proposal as “positive” and said that several airlines had already shown an interest in covering the routes.
The Association groups together the chief Spanish airlines with the exception
Former transport minister describes proposals as “timid and insufficient” of Iberia, and Navío said members would be encouraged to present their projects for the routes, and to suggest improvements to the proposals.
He also said that several European Union airlines had shown an interest in the proposal as part of their strategy to gain a foothold in a new market.
However, he declined to give names for the time being.
He added that it would open up competition, which was an important aspect.
In the long run, he said, what is important is that users should evaluate the product, quality, frequency and price.

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