Tourists aren't affected by the discount scheme but residents are, and there are concerns about the change.

13-08-2016Jaume Morey

Any change to the residents' travel discount system will not take effect until the end of March at the earliest. The national ministry of development, which initially appeared to indicate that the change would be dropped completely, subsequently explained that there would be a delay. The Spanish Confederation of Travel Agencies now confirms that there will be no change until at least 26 March.

The change, it needs stressing, applies to group travel. Rather than the automatic 50% discount, a limit will be set on the amount of subsidy for ticket prices. The government says that the change is specifically designed to prevent subsidy fraud for group travel, which includes business contracts.

The discount system applies to travel by residents in the Canaries, the north African cities of Ceuta and Melilla as well as the Balearics. Opposition to the change had been expressed here in Majorca, as it was felt that Madrid was once more paying too little regard to insularity and the absolute necessity for air (and sea) travel. There was also concern as to how the rates for different routes were to be established.

The civil aviation directorate, which comes under the ministry of development, is to open a period of consultation with the regions affected and with the national and regional travel agencies' associations. The key objective will be to come up with a scheme that prevents fraud without harming the travel industry or the interests of residents. The minister, Iñigo de la Serna, has said that he will hold talks with the different regional administrations in order to arrive at better compliance with regulations regarding the subsidies.

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