Regional minister for transport, Joan Boned, told parliament today that the closure of the Air Berlin hub at Palma airport will affect eight routes but that he expects these to be compensated for by other airlines when the award of and authorisation for new airlines are made on 15 January next year.
Boned was responding to the Partido Popular’s Alvaro Gijón, who asked about government plans to avoid loss of air connectivity with the mainland because of the closure of the hub. Gijón suggested that the government was acting slowly in responding and he asked for there to be a contingency plan.
The minister replied to him by saying that “you give the impression that the loss of Air Berlin’s hub will be a disaster, when it will affect only eight routes and when the forecast for next year is a 13% increase in domestic passengers to Palma”. Boned added that he believed Gijón was scaremongering and then explained that a series of meetings is planned in order to maintain connectivity between the Balearics and the mainland, these being with the civil aviation directorate, the routes’ committees for Ibiza and Palma airports, various airlines and also with Air Berlin.
He said that Air Berlin intends to compensate for the situation and that already its routes were being taken up by other airlines.
The minister suggested that Gijón, whose place on the Balearic Partido Popular’s candidates’ list for Congress was vetoed by the PP’s national committee, was resorting to demagoguery on account of “another situation” and asked him to cease being “alarmist” when there was no need to be.
Meanwhile, President Armengol confirmed that thirty of Air Berlin’s 150 employees locally were at risk of losing their jobs, adding that the decision to close the hub was “not good news” in this regard. Against the background of the decision, she said that the government will be including the request for the flat-rate tariff for inter-island flights to be included in considerations by the joint commission made up by the Balearic and national finance ministries.
She made this announcement in replying to the leader of El Pi, Jaume Font, who had expressed his concern at potential loss of air connectivity and increases to the price of flights.
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