A report from the national directorate for environmental quality and assessment has cast doubts on plans to alter aircraft flight paths in Minorca. The directorate, part of the ministry for ecological transition, has established that the state air navigation company, Enaire, will have to submit its project to a full environmental assessment, having ruled out there being a simplified assessment procedure. There is agreement with a report presented last September by the Balearic Environment Commission which drew attention to likely "significant adverse environmental effects" from changes to the configuration of flight corridors for aircraft taking off from and coming into land at Minorca Airport.
The alterations that Enaire has proposed are not insignficant. There are new flight paths which do not correspond to existing ones, and these paths would channel 46 per cent of incoming flights and 23% of departing flights - a third of air traffic, therefore. They would involve aircraft passing over areas of the island that are not at present on flight paths, such as Alaior and Es Mercadal.
The directorate states that documentation which Enaire has provided "is not sufficient to rule out negative effects" of the project. It points to three main aspects: biodiversity in reference to fourteen protected bird species; noise, especially for areas of the island which are currently not on the flight paths; and air pollution, largely due to an increase in air traffic that Enaire envisages in the near future.