Air-traffic controllers were warning last summer about the volume of flights at Palma. | Patricia Lozano


Palma’s Son San Joan airport is already one of the busiest charter and low-cost airports in Europe, but the airports authority Aena has sparked a backlash over plans to increase flight traffic at the airport this year.

Balearic vice-president and minister for tourism Biel Barcelo has already expressed his reservations over the proposal, fuelling the debate that the flow of tourists to Majorca needs to be controlled amidst complaints of "saturation" during the peak summer months.

Yesterday, the parliamentary spokesperson for Podemos, Laura Camargo, aired her party’s "indignation" over Aena’s plans to have planes landing every 45 seconds at Palma airport.

Aena has already announced plans to carry out a series of renovations to the airport ahead of the start of the summer season in order to increase capacity inside the terminals and to provide extra facilities and services for more passengers. "We have been talking about the dangers of this tourism bubble for years," she said. "We don’t want to simply be a colony of hotels and that is exactly what Aena is planning on transforming the island into."

Camargo added that increasing the number of tourists during the peak season is only going to damage the island. "It poses a threat not only to natural resources, the environment and the island’s infrastructure but also to the quality of life of local residents and their communities."

She also pointed out that Palma airport is one of the most lucrative in the Aena network of over 40 airports and that it is time that Majorcan authorities and business had a say in how the airport is managed.

Aena’s plan is to increase the number of flights handled by Palma airport from 60 per hour to 80, therefore increasing airport activity by 21 per cent by 2021.