August 3, 2021

Competition investigates airlines for raising rates after the increase in the discount of residents in the islands | Economy

Competition investigates airlines for raising rates after the increase in the discount of residents in the islands | Economy

The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) is investigating the airlines that operate flights between the Balearic Islands and the Peninsula to check if there have been unjustified increases in the rates as a result of the approval of the 75% increase of the resident bonus. The Balearic Government has sent several complaints to the central executive for a significant increase in the prices of the routes linking the three airports of the Balearic Islands with several Spanish cities, which has undermined the increase in the discount for residents, which last July entered in force and that allows to subsidize 75% of the cost of the ticket, excluding the fees.

The Minister of Territory, Energy and Mobility of the Balearic Government, Marc Pons, affirms that they sent to the central government several complaints from consumers about the increase in the price of tickets, deficiencies in the quality of services and security issues. At the beginning of November the complaints were transferred to the National Commission of Markets and Competition to investigate if there had been a distortion of prices in recent months, while the Government met with Aena, Enaire and the State Agency of Air Safety to review the incidents that have occurred in airport matters in the Balearic Islands, both in terms of price and security.

The allegations are also supported by a report prepared by the employers of Travel Agencies of the Balearic Islands (AVIBA) that after studying the price of 4,500 tickets since last July reveals that companies operating flights to or from the Balearic Islands have increased their rates after the application of the new bonus. "Regular airlines such as Iberia or Air Europa are the ones that lower prices the least, and low cost airlines are the ones that have increased tariffs the most with respect to 2017," says AVIBA president Antoni Abrines. Another aspect of concern and that has been transferred to the Government is the price difference in the same routes depending on whether the departure airport is in the archipelago or in the Peninsula, with cases in which a discount ticket is more expensive in a Palma-Madrid route that a non-refundable ticket for a Madrid-Palma flight.

Maximum rates

To avoid what Pons Councilor has described as "price escalation" has shown its intention to ask the Ministry of Development to force companies to set a maximum average ticket price for travel between the three airports of the islands with the rest of Spain. A decision that has to be supported by the European Union, since the routes would have to be declared as a public service, as is already the case in inter-island journeys, which have a maximum cost of 90 euros and which is now being reduced to 60 euros

In addition to the price increase, Pons has expressed concern about the quality of the service offered by some of the companies on the interisland flights. "We have sent complaints to AESA seeing the decline in the quality of the service that has occurred at specific moments in some trips between islands, we want the State Aviation Safety Agency to investigate whether the regulations have been complied with at all times," says Pons. Iberia and Air Europa are the two airlines that operate the routes between islands and in recent months have been forced to outsource to foreign companies to be able to release the demand, which skyrocketed after the increase in the resident discount. However, subcontractors have received numerous complaints about safety and quality problems, such as the lack of air conditioners in the middle of summer. In the last year, the General Directorate of Consumption of the Balearic Government has opened 26 files against airlines and sanctions have been imposed for a value of more than one million euros.


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