Another week, another story of winter flights
So, another week, another barrage of letters and of twists and turns as would befit a series of EastEnders live specials. Had they got the message? This was Sunday’s front-page question. Hundreds of emailed letters to the paper had given their message. More winter flights and especially from Scotland.
By Tuesday, these flights to Scotland (and also from) were a “step closer”. “An unexpected and welcome twist” had been taken, as Jason Moore pointed out in the Viewpoint. Aviation experts had estimated that direct weekly return winter flights would cost between 260 and 300 euros. It would be “like a community airline”.
Also on Tuesday, it was once more noted that the Més socialists/nationalists/environmentalists political grouping was calling for the Balearics to have its own airline, an idea that Andrew Ede pooh-poohed by pointing out that Més had only really been referring to inter-island flights and that the Més proposal to use public funds would almost certainly run up against EU disapproval (and that of others).
Nonetheless, on Wednesday, and in the spirit of Podemos (“we can”), “yes we can” was the message from a touristic triumvirate comprising PR man Doug Goodman, the managing director of Hotel Tres in Palma, Sven Rudow, and the president of the Majorca Tourist Board, Eduardo Gamero. “It is the winter we need to be pushing,” said Eduardo. The flight situation was difficult, he acknowledged, but was confident a solution could be found.
Adopting a rather different perspective, D.K. of Calvia in the letters was “staggered about the quality of the debate” and argued that the “airlines do not consider it financially viable to operate such routes” and that “emotions” were getting the better of people.
The debate ball was kept rolling on Thursday by half-a-dozen letters citing the logistical difficulties of travel to Majorca in winter, and then on Friday there was “another twist”.
This time it came from Scottish hotelier Brian Squires who considered the whole debate in reverse, as in the demand among Majorcans to visit Scotland in the winter. And when Saturday came, we were told, courtesy of the tourism minister (see below), that there had been a 12% growth in January tourists from Britain (without identifying the actual number). But this was taken as evidence of demand that could be met if only there were more than the handful of flights at present. Meanwhile, back in Albert Square ...

The historic tourism minister
On Thursday, the tourism minister Jaime Martínez muscled his way onto the front page by insisting that 2015 would be an “historic year for tourism” and so would be even more historic than 2014, which itself had seen records broken. The main season, according to the man from the ministry, was now lasting from March to November, an observation that was doubtless greeted with dismissive guffawing across the island. Jason Moore, in querying the minister’s optimism and rosy view, noted that there remain “big problems” with Majorca’s principal industry, not least the shortage of winter flights.

Real estate: up or down?
While the flights were not flying and the minister was making history, “experts” in Thursday’s paper were “predicting significant improvement in real estate” in the Balearics in 2015, one reason being, apparently, that “tourism revival” had made the Balearics a “key location for top retail brands”, a theme that these same experts explored in Friday’s issue. Also on Friday, according to a different set of experts, the Balearic Architect College, it was reported that new home building in Majorca had slumped by 11% during 2014. But, the architects were able to cite some construction positivity in the form of investments being made by hoteliers and commercial businesses.

Grace Kelly and the biscuits
Lightening the mood somewhat, Tuesday’s paper contained one of those fascinating facts about Majorca that is probably not widely known.
Thanks to Jackie Codd of Age Concern Mallorca, who was reporting on an excursion made by friends of Age Concern, we learnt that the Quely biscuit factory in Inca only acquired the name Quely in the 1960s and that it came about because the owner was a “huge fan of Grace Kelly” (who was a visitor to Majorca with Prince Rainier of Monaco, such as on the occasion of the opening of the Son Vida golf course).
Kelly was therefore adopted as the name but its phonetic spelling was changed to reflect Majorcan pronunciation.