Over the first seven months of this year there was a five per cent decrease in the number of private jets using Palma's Son Sant Joan Airport. Between January and July, the executive terminal registered 6,189 planes and 14,777 passengers; there was a fall of 4.3% in the number of passengers.
In July, there was a six per cent drop in planes to 1,652 and a corresponding decrease in the number of passengers - to 3,938.
Gestair, one of two operators overseeing what is referred to as general aviation at the airport, attributes the reductions to the revival of competitor destinations. It is therefore a very familiar story of Egypt and Turkey having made comebacks after their geopolitical problems.
Alejandro Hermoso of Gestair says that "clients are decanting to other destinations, which have managed to recover their security over the past year".
Hermoso stresses that the decrease doesn't imply the loss of "luxury tourism" or indeed anything like a loss. This segment is well-established because of the extent of the top-end-of-the-market residential tourism. But there is no doubt that the competition has increased and that other destinations have plenty of space to accommodate planes.
Separate to the private jets, he notes that there has been positive growth in the number of air taxis, which come in from airports such as Berlin, Nice and Farnborough. Hermoso adds, however, that there is an issue in Palma and also in Ibiza with regard to space for planes to park.
Airports on the mainland - Alicante, Barcelona and Valencia - have been eating into Palma's market share for this reason.
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