Fernando Clavijo (left) with Vice-President Barceló and President Armengol at the World Travel Market in London. | Juan Luis Ruiz Collado


The meeting between the Balearic and Canaries governments which is to take place tomorrow (Friday) will consider a joint strategy on airports. Both governments are opposed to Madrid privatising more of the Aena airports network; currently, the state, via the Enaire holding company, has 51% of the shares.

President Armengol and Fernando Clavijo, the president of the Canary Islands, agreed to hold this meeting when they were at the World Travel Market in London. Airports are not the only item on the agenda; so also are financing arrangements and the attitude of Madrid to these.

Iñigo de la Serna, the minister for development, has suggested that the state will allow an 11% increase in private shareholding in Aena, which would take this to 60%. This obviously would mean that the national government is no longer the majority shareholder and would in effect lose control of the airports network.

The possibility of this happening raised some alarm during the London travel fair and so led to the setting-up of today's meeting in Palma. As much as the possibility of increased privatisation angered the two governments, so also did the fact that there had been no prior consultation.

The regional transport minister, Marc Pons, says that the economies of the Balearics and the Canaries are dependent on the service sector and so therefore on how the airports are managed. The concern is that private interests and the profitability of Aena will take precedence over local economic necessities.

Both the Balearics and the Canaries have long called for there to be at least co-management of airports, something that national government has consistently refused.