25-09-2012Gemma Andreu

From information so far supplied by airlines to the Eurocontrol agency, around 39 million airline seats are in the summer-season schedules for flights into the three Balearic airports - Palma's Son Sant Joan, Mahon and Ibiza. This will represent an increase of more than four million over last year, when records were being broken for passenger numbers. The volume that is being anticipated will, therefore, mean that all three airports will register new record levels of passenger movement.

Ibiza is the airport which is due to experience the largest increase. This is the consequence of the rise in holiday demand from the domestic Spanish market as well as from European markets. In addition, Ibiza can expect significant growth in traffic from privately owned aircraft. The national airports agency Aena is putting the total rise in Ibiza's numbers at more than 11% from March until October.

At Son Sant Joan, the rise in percentage terms is forecast to be close to 6%, but the volume is of course far greater than in either Ibiza or Mahon, while this increase would constitute approximately a doubling of the percentage rise in 2015. In Minorca, this year's growth at Mahon is expected to be at least 10% because of strong UK and Spanish demand.

The causes of this boom are, of course, well understood, with the Balearics and other Spanish coastal areas having become "haven" destinations on account of instability and terrorism elsewhere.

The growth in traffic at Spanish airports this year is already very discernible. While Balearic airports typically do lag behind somewhat in January, five Spanish airports showed particularly strong growth in that month and one of them was, so bucking a trend, Ibiza. Its growth in January, compared with the same month in 2015, was 19%. This was in fact the second highest percentage rise at a European airport in what is classified as the Group 3 airports. In Group 2, Alicante and Malaga had rises of 18.8% and 13.5% respectively.

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