Timeshare owners heading in and out of Palma International Airport last weekend may have noticed it’s even busier than usual. The Balearic island of Mallorca broke its own record over the weekend by handling 160,000 passengers in a single day according to airport officials.
Palma is one of the busiest airports in Europe, ranked 16th in 2010 when over 21.1 million passengers passed through it and it’s the third busiest in Spain, after Madrid Barajas and Barcelona El Prat. Not surprisingly, Malaga is the fourth busiest, with the Canary Islands presumably not far behind.
In 2007, Palma Airport hit record numbers welcoming 23.2 million passengers but numbers have dwindled since then, due to the global economic recession.
The Balearic tourist board is optimistic about figures this year, expecting bumper numbers during August, with hotel and resort occupancy up compared to last year and significantly better for the first time since the economy took a nosedive.
Some no-frills airlines have been increasing flights to Palma, helping boost the rise in arrivals, while Aena, which manages 47 airports and two heliports in Spain has made a series of changes for the summer months, to accommodate 7.4% more airline seats and it’s expected that Palma airport will have seen a 13% or so increase in air travellers passing through by the time the summer ends.
Even private jet arrivals are on the up, with 7,000 landing at Palma last year and more expected this year.
Ignacio Osle, Sales and Marketing Director of leading house builder Taylor Wimpey de España, which specialises in fractional developments in Marbella and Mallorca, comments:
"We are pleased to see that Palma Airport is making every effort to increase passenger numbers and boost tourism to the island. Of course tourists are already enticed by the blue flag beaches and the UNESCO listed Serra de Tramuntana mountain range as well as rich history, culture and glamorous nightlife but combining this with an ever improving airport service and facilities will mean that visitors will find the overall ‘Mallorcan experience’ very hard to resist this summer."
Mallorca, particularly the low key, jet-set yachting resort of Andratx, has long been a celebrity favourite, with Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rod Stewart and more than one Formula 1 driver spotted holidaying on the island in recent years.