It is virtually impossible that tourism figures will match last year's, quite simply because charter airlines are being forced to cut capacity on Balearic routes because of the lack of demand. Yesterday (AECA) the Spanish Association of Airlines held its general assembly in Palma and delegates were told that charter flight bookings for the Balearics are down by 10 per cent and flight bookings in general by as much as 20 per cent, AECA said that Thomson Holidays, for example have, reported a fall in charter flight bookings for this summer of 400'000, compared to last year and MyTravel, a drop of 350'000 reservations. Therefore, tour operators are going to start diverting Balearic flights to other, more popular destinations where holidays are selling. A reduction in capacity means a reduction in holidays available. IFTO, the International Federation of Tour Operators, warned earlier this year that unless the Balearics, or any other destination, proved successful, the tour operators would start reducing their flight capacity to sluggish destinations and that such a move would obviously restrict any movement for tourism growth. Commercial director of charter airline Futura, Juan Muñoz, said that the fall in bookings is because of the “crisis” facing tour operators operating in the Balearic market. Spanish airlines are starting to see a significant recovery in passenger figures with Cuba, Dominican Republic and Venezuela performing well. AECA President, Felipe Navio, said that the Spanish airline sector is adapting to the new European and US security regulations on planes and is confident that, in the long run, the new security policies will not prove as costly as initially feared for the airlines.

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