The Balearic government yesterday expressed its outrage over central government's refusal to declare inter-island and domestic connections to the mainland as “public services.” In view of decisions by Spanish airlines to reduce operating costs, which will therefore affect flight connections to and between the Balearic islands, the local government hoped that after years of lobbying Madrid, central government would finally step in to protect and guarantee air links to the Balearics. The Balearic government stressed yesterday that regular air links are vital for the region and that Madrid's decision has paved the way for airlines to start slim-lining services to the islands. Balearic government sources said that Madrid has in fact failed to comply with European Union transport legislation and is continuing with its policy to discriminate against the Balearics, in view of the fact that domestic flights to the Canary Island are a “public service”. “The economy and society will suffer,” sources at the Ministry for Transport said yesterday, adding that Palma will step up its lobby to protect domestic flights.

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