By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE Balearic government is going to submit a written complaint over central government's plans to part-privatise the country's airports to Madrid next week.

The Minister for Tourism and Employment, Joana Barcelo, explained that the local government is going to object strongly to the way in which the sell off has been designed.

She said that the Balearics is in favour of airports being given individual attention when being partly sold off and this will be stressed to the Development Minister in the letter being drawn up by the Balearic Minister for Transport and Environment Gabriel Vicens.

The Balearics has for years been lobbying Madrid for the local private sector and government to be given a role in the management of Palma airport with the full backing and cooperation of the local business and tourism sectors.

The main reason being that Palma airport has different problems and needs to Madrid, for example, and that local involvement is vital to ensuring that Palma airport best serves the interests of the local community.

The problems suffered over the past week due to the air traffic controllers wildcat strike, merely served to prove the need for the country's largest airports to have a more independent management model and not be dependent on one central monopoly which is Aena.

Palma is Spain's third busiest airport and is continuing to grow fast with passenger traffic through the winter connecting flight hubs growing every year.

Vicens wants Palma airport to be able to be far more competitive and be able to meet the needs of the Balearic and international air transport sector, such as being able to adjust its landing and operating fees in order to boost traffic, especially during the winter, and attract new airlines and open much needed new routes.

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