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Local News in Ibiza

Local News
by Louise Wright

Problem with Local Flights



 
Ibiza Local News

In previous editions of Local News I have reported on the growing problem of getting a flight from Ibiza to mainland Spain.

During the past two weeks, leading Spanish airline companies such as Iberia, Spanair, AeBal and Air Europa have announced their winter flight programme.

Staff and flights are all being drastically reduced as a result of 11th September tragedies in America, which have disrupted the world economy.

Direct flights joining the Balearic and Canary Isles to mainland Spain during the winter period will be few and far between.

Despite all appeals by the Govern balear (Balearic Government) to the airline companies against their decision, nothing could be said that would change their minds.

Air Europa Express decided on Monday 29th October to cancel all turboprop aeroplanes, most of which connected Ibiza to Palma throughout the winter season. They have also reduced their staff by 10% (337 people).

Air Europa's temporary staff will also be affected by the company's decision.

They have decided not to renew their work contracts and drastically reduce their weekly timetable.

Air Europa Express staff in Ibiza will also suffer the effects of the new decision as the company employs eight people on a permanent basis and 22 temporary staff.

The Spanish work syndicate USO has recommended Air Europa´s staff to denounce the company for modifying a work contract as well as not informing them of their decision until 12 hours before the reforming process began.

According to USO, Air Europa has broken the law and in the near future could face large fines if they don't rethink their decision.

After Air Europa´s negative decision it´s nice to see that some companies are fighting against the economical crisis.

Spanair announced on Monday 29th October that they plan to stick to their winter timetable despite the 11th September tragedies.

Spanair will offer a weekly service of 116 flights between Palma and Barcelona, 88 from Palma to Madrid and 14 Palma-Alicante.

The Balearics have also been taken into consideration with 24 weekly flights between Ibiza and Palma and 32 joining Palma and Maó (Menorca).

The Govern balear are shocked by the airline companies that have decided to cease connecting flights between the islands and the peninsula, as over the years they have got used to Spanish companies demanding more air space instead of less.

The president of the Govern balear, Francesc Antich, feels that the drastic number of flight reductions will have a very negative effect on the Balearic economy.

The president now feels that it´s necessary that "the airline companies be declared a public service if we don't want to live through another crisis like this".

Pilar Costa, president of the Consell Insular (Islands Council), also feels strongly about the situation: "Aeroplanes are the fastest way of getting from Ibiza to mainland Spain. In Spain you can travel by train but we can't do that in Ibiza, planes are our motorways".

Antich also reiterated that it´s now easier to fly to Germany than it is to mainland Spain, as there are more direct flights.

On the other hand, direct flights to Germany might not be available for much longer.

LTU, one of the leading charter airline companies in Germany, have recently declared they are on the brink of bankruptcy.

The company has fallen into an economical crisis because of the situation with Swissair, who are LTU´s largest shareholder, owning 49.9% of the company.

German banks and politicians have joined forces in a bid to help the airline company.

The company has been offered 150 million Euros, although this figure has yet to be approved by the European Union.

LTU would also have to follow a special saving programme until 2004, which would mean cutting staffs wages between 5 and 10%, if they choose to accept the money from the German banks.

No Ecotasa Next Year Either

The ecotasa, tax to be paid by all tourists that travel to Ibiza, has once again taken a back seat.

The new law was supposed to be functioning by next season but, as a result of the 11th September tragedies, has been cancelled once again.

The Govern balear has provisionally suspended the ecotasa for one year despite receiving criticism from the PP (Pacte Progressista) political party.

PP politician Joan Flaquer said: "The Govern balear lack coherence in their decisions. First the ecotasa was going to start functioning next year but now they have changed their minds once again".

The Govern balear answered this strong criticism by accusing them of being insensible and not considering the uncertain future of the Balearic tourist industry after the American tragedies.

Vending Machine Fraud

Over the past few days, men employed by vending machine companies have been wondering why there was so little money in their machines.

They have since discovered the reason behind this intriguing problem.

A group of men dressed as official employees have been going round all establishments emptying the money out of soft drink machines.

These "robbers" act out their crime as naturally as possible. First of all they maintain a conversation with the establishments manager or owner, then they proceed to empty the machines of all money using a master key. After this they say goodbye to the owner and leave as if nothing had happened.

No one would notice anything unusual about the situation until a few days or even hours later when the official company employee arrives to find the machine empty of all money.

The soft drinks machine company has since revealed that there is nothing that can be done about the problem and, as the vending machines are emptied on a regular basis, they are not losing large amounts of money.

Cycling

Thousands of people gathered on Sunday 28th October to witness one of the biggest sporting events in Ibiza this year.

The ACP ‘Gran Premi Unitec-Eivissa Patrimoni' cycling competition reunited the most famous Spanish cyclists, turning most of the island into a mini Tour de France.

More than 3,500 people gathered to see Óscar Freire, Óscar Sevilla and Ángel Casero lead the way to the top.

All the cyclists agreed that Ibiza is one of the nicest places to hold a competition as the weather conditions are so pleasant.

Maybe now that the cyclists have discovered Ibiza, the island might be used on a more regular basis to hold important sporting events such as this one.

Ix Trade Fair

Another important event on this week's calendar is the annual trade fair at the Recinto Ferial (Ibiza's Fair and Exhibition Centre).

The "IX Feria de Muestras" has combined 70 different businesses in 1,500 square metres.

Fifty-three of these businesses are from Ibiza, one from Formentera, six from Palma, five from Barcelona two from Madrid, one from Valencia and one from Bilbao.

Natural fragrances, heating systems, toys, massage chairs, arts and crafts from Thailand, beer, wedding dresses, makeovers and typical Ibicencan food stalls are all present at the fair.

A stand from the leading furniture store Ikea is definitely the star of the show, offering catalogues in a bid to encourage people to buy via telephone and Internet.

More than 18,000 people passed through the Recinto Ferial´s doors in last year's edition, proving the huge success of the fair.

The trade fair will remain open from 11 o'clock in the morning until 10 o'clock at night from Thursday 1st November until Sunday 4th November, so if you get time I highly recommend a visit.

Louise Wright

louisewright@liveibiza.com