Balearic environmental group GOB yesterday announced its intention to set up a platform against the expansion of Palma's Son San Joan airport. Two weeks ago the Minister for Development approved an overall expansion plan for the Balearics' airports so that the islands' airports will be able to meet demand in the future. By the year 2005 central government estimations indicate that Palma airport will be handling 26 million passengers a year and by the year 2010, just under 40 million. GOB believes that the social and environmental impact of such a massive increase in passengers and air traffic will be catastrophic and that the damage caused by the 19.5 million passengers currently using the airport each year is sufficient. GOB says that Majorca will simply be unable to cope with a near doubling of passenger traffic over the next ten years. With water resources already struggling and demand for power reaching its limit, GOB fears that the quality of life in Majorca will suffer severely if capacity at Palma airport is allowed, and encouraged, to grow at such a rapid rate. GOB has urged the Insular Council of Majorca and the Balearic government to start negotiating with the Minister for Development in order to try and block the expansion plans. In the meantime, GOB will be contacting a wide range of social and residential organisations to secure their support for an island-wide movement against expanding Palma airport.

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