There is evidence of air fare price abuse since the discount was increased. | Pere Bota

Since the residents flight discount was raised from 50% to 75% last July, airlines ticket prices have gone up on average by 15%.

Transport minister Marc Pons has explained to parliament that there is price monitoring by the national ministry of development. It looks at the prices for routes for which the discount applies - those to and from the Canaries, Ceuta and Melilla as well as the Balearics.

Pons added that the National Competition Commission has been notified of these increases. The commission acts as the regulator in this instance and has powers to penalise airlines if there is evidence of abuse. Pons quoted the development minister, José Luis Ábalos, who has insisted that the discount should be for the benefit of residents and not airlines.

A month after the discount was raised, the governments in the Balearics and the Canaries asked for there to be particular scrutiny of prices by Civil Aviation and the Air Safety Agency (both within the ministry of development). At the Fitur tourism fait in Madrid last month, there was a meeting with the commission for air routes at which details of prices between July and November were given to the Balearic government.

While 15% has been the average increase, there have naturally been instances of prices having gone up by more. An example was a 27% increase in a regular fare for Palma to Barcelona in August and September. The discount price was nevertheless lower than what it had been before the increased discount came into effect.