Still no agreement on raising the discount for residents' flights.


The Senate has rejected a PSOE motion that urged the Spanish government to increase the flight discount for residents of the Balearics, the Canaries and Ceuta and Melilla to 75%.

PSOE want the increase from 50% to be introduced in the next financial year. The government has yet to approve the budget for 2018; it is experiencing difficulties in amassing enough support in Congress.

Olivia Delgado, a PSOE senator from Tenerife, criticised the Partido Popular for having voted against the motion. She said that increasing discount was not a request for "alms" but one in line with the Constitution. Article 138 refers to the principle of solidarity, so there should be "adequate and fair economic balance" between residents of the four affected non-mainland territories and the rest of the Spanish people.

Delgado added that three million people reside in these territories: over seven per cent of the Spanish population. Their "isolation" creates a "loss of opportunities and competitiveness". She referred to the cost of flights from the Canaries and the Balearics to European cities, comparing their cheapness with ones to Madrid. The distances are shorter but the prices are "exorbitant".

The Tenerife senator stressed that airlines exist to create profits. This is their goal, "not citizenship". "They are not a public service, they are private companies subject to the rules of the market." As a consequence, she argued, the government "not only can but must intervene".

Miquel Ramis, a PP senator from Majorca, observed that the party was in agreement with the "philosophy" of the motion but pointed out that there cannot be an increase in the discount to 75% because this depends on the state budget, and PSOE are refusing to support the budget.


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