By the year 2015, Balearics' airports will be prepared to handle some 50 million passengers a year; in 2000 the region's airports handled 27 million travellers. The Ministry for Development's plans have caused some concern in the Balearics, but a global project for the islands' airports was approved at the end of last month. Madrid considers the Balearics' four airports, the fourth being Palma's old Son Bonet, as vital for the development of the region's economy and to meet demand of increasing air traffic. A third runway is to be built at Palma's Son San Joan airport, but airport director Mariano Menor believes that the terminal's existing runways are more than capable of handling traffic until 2015. However the Ministry for Development is looking past 2015 and is thinking long term. Another part of the Palma plan is to move the control tower across to the air force base while making the new domestic terminal more efficient. The private jet zone is to be expanded with a new terminal built and more space on the tarmac for private planes. There are also plans for a new industrial estate to be constructed at the airport. The old Son Bonet terminal is also destined for a new lease of life. The Palma control centre is to be moved to the site and a new industrial estate is to be created along with the construction of a maintenance hangar for private aircraft.

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