More flights are "unacceptable"
It was all about flights again last week. Rather than fewer, the emphasis was on more. The number of flights at Palma between end-March and end-October will increase by 14,000. The number of available airline places will rise by 11%. Partly this is because more airlines have established summer bases at the airport. EasyJet officially opened its last week. Norwegian is another, as is Eurowings, which has taken over many of the one-time Air Berlin routes.
The airport's director dismissed anxieties about the ability to cope with additional flights. Although Aena hasn't said anything definitively about increasing per-hour capacity, José Antonio Álvarez explained that 79 flights per hour can be handled. At present, there is authorisation for a maximum of 66.
The government's reaction was that it is "unacceptable" for there to be more flights in high summer. For tourism minister Biel Barceló, any rise presents him with a political difficulty. The previous week he had been saying that fewer numbers of tourists in summer would be "positive", as this fits with government policy of trying to shift tourists to the lower months of the year. He appeared to have swallowed Tui's line about German holidaymakers going elsewhere, but the airport's figures suggest a six per cent increase in airline places for German routes on top of ones of, for example, 14% for the UK.
The strain on accommodation
The greater number of flights and places inevitably raised talk of more "saturation". In this context, the availability of accommodation for workers was a subject given another airing. Unions blamed hotels for no longer providing accommodation, while the hotels blamed the likes of Airbnb for the pressure on accommodation.
Seasonal workers are not only those in hotels or restaurants, there are also doctors and police. The national government's delegate in the Balearics, Maria Salom, was told by the police union that officers from the National Police don't want summer transfers to the Balearics because rents are too high. (The same will presumably apply to Guardia Civil officers.) Meanwhile in Ibiza, where accommodation has become virtually non-existent except at exorbitant rents, a wing at the old hospital is being re-opened to accommodate doctors.
The draft for the holiday rentals legislation is due to be approved before Easter. The government, we learned, will then rush it through parliament and hopefully have it in force by June. There was more explanation of the "zoning" that will be used to allocate holiday rentals place across Majorca. Inland municipalities will be the main beneficiaries, as they are said not to have pressures on accommodation. Aptur, which represents owners, said that zoning will be "unworkable". It announced that it has teamed up with its counterpart in the Canaries. The two associations will present a united front in talking with Madrid about ensuring that there is "fair" regulation of rentals.
Calvia announced another of its resort improvement initiatives. This one will involve yet more amendment of local bylaws and is aimed at displays of alcohol outside shops and at noisy recreational machines. Not for the first time, an impression was left of targeting something easier than what concerns people most, notably the mugging prostitutes.
Majorca thanked for Westminster response
Wednesday's terror attack in Westminster did not go unacknowledged in Majorca. Minute's silences were held across the island at town halls, while in Palma the silences were observed at the national government delegation's headquarters, at parliament and also by the army. This response was in turn acknowledged by the many who expressed their thanks to Majorca especially on our Facebook page.
More flights are "unacceptable"
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