Airport taxes in the Balearics and the Canaries are to be 70 percent lower than in the rest of Spain on inter-island flights while on flights between the islands and the mainland, Balearic residents will be entitled to a 15 percent discount on airport taxes. The announcement was made yesterday by the Canaries' Minister for Tourism and Transport, Juan Carlos Becerra, who said that yesterday morning he received a guarantee from the Spanish Airport and Air Traffic Control authority AENA, that the islands will benefit from a reduction on the new airport taxes introduced in Spain in accordance with European Union unification of member-state airport taxes. Airport taxes on inter-island flights will rise by 60 pesetas to 185, instead of the initial 619 pesetas and taxes on flights from the Balearics to the mainland will be frozen at 526 pesetas. The Canaries lodged an immediate complaint with Madrid, after central government agreed to approve the European Union directive, claiming that the increases in airport taxes “discriminated” against the Canaries and the Balearics. Both island regions were yesterday said to be satisfied with the result and the reduction in the cost of airport taxes. However, for Palma airport, the authorities are still expected to lose £4 million in revenue this year, because, while European unification of airport taxes sparked increases in Spain, for the rest of Europe, the EU directive spells a reduction. Eighty percent of Palma airport's traffic is from overseas and the remaining 20 percent, which is domestic traffic, will fall even shorter now of helping to compensate for the loss of revenue.

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