Joan Collins
LOW cost airlines brought 2.2 million international passengers to the Balearics in the first seven months of 2006, some 13.6 percent more than in the same period last year, according to figures published yesterday by the Institute of Tourist Studies which is part of the Spanish Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Commerce. This rise in the use of “low cost” airlines contrasts sharply with the slight increase of 0.8 percent in the use of traditional airlines recorded in the same period, although these companies continued to bring more foreign visitors to the Balearics, with 3.4 million passengers. From January to July, the Balearics were the second autonomous region to receive the most foreigners via the “low cost” airlines, having 22.2 percent of all arrivals. This was only exceeded by Cataluña (24.5 percent), with Andalucia (17.6 percent) in third place and the Valencia region (15.8 percent) in fourth.
Palma airport also occupies the first position for airports receiving the most international passengers into Spain via the “low cost” airlines during the first six months of the year, receiving 20.2 percent of all arrivals, with more than 2 million passengers up to July, some 12.2 percent more than in the same period for 2005. Behind Palma comes Malaga (13.9 percent) and Barcelona (13.1 percent). Ibiza airport occupies ninth position with 1.7 percent of the total and 171'414 passengers, some 25.8 percent more). During the month of July, the Balearics was again the region which received most foreign passengers via the “low cost” airlines, receiving 27.1 percent of the total arrivals in Spain, with 535'411 travellers, some 14.9 percent more than in July 2005. Cataluña (22.2 percent of all arrivals) and Andalucia (17.6 percent) were next on the list. In spite of the sharp rise in arrivals in the Balearics via “low cost” airlines in July, the traditional airlines carried practically two out of every three travellers to the islands, with 1.1 million passengers, some 26.7 percent of the national total, although some 0.3 percent less than during the same month in 2005. According to the Ministry's study the Balearics, in contrast to the rest of the mainland destinations, received the majority of its foreign passengers from various German airports (52.2 percent of the total). These were almost all flown in by Air Berlin, which brought 32.1 percent of the foreigners arriving by air in July. During July, the most used Spanish airport was Palma, which handled 446'000 passengers via “low cost” airlines. This was some 12 percent more than 12 months earlier and 22.6 percent of total arrivals in Spain, ahead of Malaga with 14.3 percent of all arrivals and Barcelona (11.8 percent). In the case of Palma airport more passengers arrived on traditional airlines during July (798'677).


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