As a result of the crisis being suffered
in the airline industry worldwide and in an effort to reduce
costs, the companies that operate flights between the islands
and the mainland have trimmed their flight schedules to an
unacceptable level (i.e., one flight a day from Ibiza to Madrid).
Following protests by the travelling public,
a meeting was held on Friday 2nd November in Palma (Mallorca)
and attended by Government representatives, members of the
three islands councils (Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca), representatives
from the main Spanish airlines and trade unions. They unanimously
approved a request to have the Spanish central government
control all flights between the Balearic Islands and mainland
The minister of public transport Francesc
Quetglas feels that the Government needs to take action. He
also added, "this is only the start of help that will
be offered to the airline companies".
As well as asking for government help, the
delegates also asked the Spanish government not to increase
airport taxes as they had planned. The increase in airport
taxes by 2% in 2002 would cost the leading Spanish airline
company, Iberia, an extra 6,000 million pesetas (36 million
Euros) a year.
The State estimates that over the next few
years airport tax could rise by as much as 10%, a figure that
the Government justifies saying that the money will be spent
in a bid to improve airport quality and security. But the
airline companies have manifested their disapproval of the
planned tax increment assuring that this extra annual expense
could be enough to send the smaller airline companies into
So far, the only thing that the Spanish
government has agreed to do to help the airline companies
is to promote tourism in an effort to keep flight numbers
Also discussed at the meeting was the necessity
to create a committee that would permit direct communication
between the Government and the airline companies so that instant
decisions could be made in times of crisis.
You may ask what would be the benefits of
having Government controlled flights. The Canary Isles are
already under a Government controlled system that operates
1) All national flight tariffs are established
by the State and revised annually by the Administration Board.
2) Compulsory discounts are applied to young
people under 22 and seniors over 60 years of age. Sport federations
and people that require hospital assistance are also entitled
3) The usual discounts for residents also
4) The Government establishes the number
of flights, timetables, minimum capacity of flights and the
type of aeroplane, all depending on each islands need.
5) The number of flight cancellations can't
affect more that 2% of flights a year.
6) Delays can't be more than 30 minutes
long on a maximum of 90% of flights.
It seems to be that the only negative aspect
of the Government controlling flights programme will be the
possibility of turning air travel in the Balearics into a
From Monday 19th November it will be a little
easier to travel between Ibiza and Madrid.
AeBal, the affiliated company of Spanair
that operates exclusively in the Balearics, informed the Govern
balear (Balearic Government) on Monday 5th November that they
are re-establishing a daily flight between Ibiza and Madrid.
The new flight will permit people to fly
to the capital first thing in the morning and return later
Until now, Iberia´s midday flight
was the only option for travellers meaning that it was impossible
to fly to Madrid and return to the island on the same day
as the Ibiza-Madrid flight and the Madrid-Ibiza flight departed
at virtually the same time.
The Consell Insular (Island Council) is
delighted with the decision as it relieves the pressure on
the controversial airline situation.
As a result of the airline companies demanding
the Spanish government control flights, leading shipping companies
have also become interested in the idea.
Eurolíneas Marítimas (Balearia),
Grupo Boluda and Trasmediterránea are all preparing
documentation that has to be presented to the Dirección
General de la Marina Mercante (State Marine Trading) before
30th November if they want to participate in the Government
controlled company in charge of the Balearics sea transport.
German Supermarket Chain Interested In
A German multinational supermarket chain has shown interest
in the Diskont supermarkets on the island.
Diskont supermarkets (Ibidis, S.A.), affiliated
to the Catalan company Miró, closed their 16 shops
on the island during August and September this year, citing
too much competition from other leading supermarkets on the
island as the cause.
The 50 Diskont employees had their contracts
temporarily cancelled from 1st October to 31st December so
that they could receive unemployment benefit until the future
of the supermarket chain is decided.
The workers receive 70% of their usual wages
from the unemployment centre while Diskont pays the other
"We don't want the workers to lose
out over our decision to close the supermarkets, that is why
we are trying to help in as many ways as possible", assured
Diskont also proved that they are not going
to let their employees down by paying all their workers wages
for the month of September, even though most of the supermarkets
Diskont realizes how beneficial a sale to
the German company would be as "it would mean that hopefully
nearly all our workers could be incorporated back into their
Winter is well underway and already a full programme of activities
for those boring winter days has been thought out.
The Ibiza residents have now got time to
enjoy the island and relax without having to think about the
After queuing for hours to "sign on"
and receive their unemployment benefit, people will be able
to start enjoying the empty streets and beaches.
If relaxing gets a bit boring, there is
always plenty to do.
Sporting activities seem to be the favourite
option with hundreds of people taking to the local gyms and
"night jogging" seems to be more popular this year
The Spanish football season is in full swing
and the English cricket team has just started a new season.
The Theatre Trust is also starting their
winter programme with a Rock n' Roll night in the casino
of Ibiza on 16th, 17th and 18th November at nine o'clock.
Tickets are available at all branches of
La Caixa' bank and all proceeds from this event will
be donated to the Asociación Española Contra
el Cáncer (Spanish Cancer Research Fund).
A full programme of musical, theatrical
and cultural activities organized by the Consell Insular (Island
Council) is also available through out the winter months.
I will be reporting on all of these events
in future Local News but that's all for this week.