In her Calvia column Angie Guerrero shared the general satisfaction over the news that EU foreign residents in Spain are likely to get their residencia card back after six years with only a useless certificate in its place (reported in Seven Days last week). However, on reflection she also sounded some notes of caution about whether there remain some administrative hurdles to be cleared and how long it will be before the card is available.
This what she wrote after talking to some people in the know: "The Balearic and National Spanish governments have heard our plea. Yes, they agree that something needs to be, and will be done .The matter is now in the hands of the National Police and immigration. As with anything involving national security issues, and citizen protection, this may take some time. No time frame was given, but the encouraging words that "we are well on the way" were music to our ears...Remembering that there are 2.5 million EU residents across Spain, it is not going to happen overnight. I would like to think that by this time next year we shall have our shiny new residencias in our hands, but let’s wait and see.
Palma Airport’s "Pride"
A Spanish company owns and operates London’s Heathrow Airport so it was quite refreshing to read that a UK company is already well-established in the running of Spanish airports and is bidding for an even bigger role which would include Palma’s Son San Joan. The company, Menzies Aviation, is the world’s second largest ground handling company and is confident of its ability to bring that know-how to bear on improving handling and ground-staff services in Spain. The report about this development seemed quite straightforward until a Letter to the editor from a reader in the UK put a rather different perspective on it : "Re your article on Menzies Aviation taking control of Palma Handling. My own experiences at the Airport have been fraught with problematical trouble. The current Hanlding is very poor. The delays catastrophic. Luggage Loading, Gate Control, Check-in etc, causing loss of "Slots", and a great frustratioin to tourists. If Menzies Aviation take over, I wonder if they will continue to employ the presnt staff at the Airport. Because, there will no improvement to the aforementioned problems ."
By chance, Laura Stadler in her column this week also had something to say about the decline in the Airport’s wheelchair service for older passengers, for instance her 94-year-old father who had to wait half-an-hour for a wheelchair to arrive in a crowded area where there was nowhere for him to sit. "This is an appalling situation considering the amount of wheelchair assistance visitors to this busy airport" she wrote. Against this background, therefore, it was a surprise to read a later Bulletin report in the week headlined, "Palma airport is the pride of the country." This was based on a survey by the main airport authority AENA which named Son San Joan as "the most profitable of AENA’s airports and one of only two which are not in debt". The report apparently had nothing to say about traveller service and satisfaction.
Going it Alone
The vexed question of who should be responsible for tourism promotion, the Balearic governent for all the islands or each one for itself -- Ibiza, Majorca, and Minorca (and Formentera?) -- has been settled in favour of individuality. So, according to this decision by the Balearic government, Majorca will apparently be competing in the market with Minorca and Ibiza with both of them. This arrangement is expected to enable each island to find new sources of funding in addition to its share of the existing pot.The announcement did not say whether stands at tourism trade fares will be shared as at present or be separate. It would be interesting to know whether this decision was based on any solid research about the most cost-effective course or was made just because the Balearic government wanted to be rid of the responsibility; it has been the subject of considerable trade criticsm for its reluctance to work with tour operators on promotions.
Owners of super- and mega-yachts tend to want helicopters at their service for onward flights or arrivals; until now choppers have been unable to use Palma marinas but Port Adriano, a home of the supers and megas, has been given permission to build a 10ft high landing pad within its marina. The Balearic Environmental Commission gave the OK after what was described as a lengthy viability and environmental impact study which showed that the heliport would pose no environmental inconvenience to the area near the marina where there are many apartments. The port, Majorca’s most modern, has 25,000 square metres of moorings with 82 for yachts of up to 100 metres in length.
From the Bulletin files
"1978: Prime minister Adolfo Suarez and opposition leader Felipe Gonzalez jointly urged Spain’s 24 million voters to say "Yes" to the nation’s new constitution which defined Spain as a parliamentary democracy with guaranteed human rights including political, religious and social freedom." (They did!)
The Anglican Church’s new St Andrew’s Church in Puerto Pollensa was dedicated in the presence of Bishop Michael Colclough, the Anglican Chaplain David Waller, acting priest Chris Watkins and a congregation of one hundred. A message of goodwill from the Roman Catholic Bishop of Majorca was read.
At the annual awards ceremony of the Majorcan Tourist Board, Pere A Serra, the founder and chairman of the Grup Serra, publisher of the Majorca Daily Bulletin, accepted a special recognition award in its 50th anniversary.
Following a survey of leading Balearic business people KPMG’s sixth annual "Balearic perspective" report said that some 75 per cent of those questioned forecast an exit from recession in 2015.