Palma's Son Sant Joan airport is on summer season footing with all services being increased yesterday as the season nears its peak period. However, the average delays yesterday were just nine minutes, the reason being the drop in passenger numbers and air traffic this summer. Nevertheless, over half a million people, 517'300 on board 4'105 flights, will use the airport this weekend, the busiest of the year to date, and the airport management wants to be ready for the busy two months ahead. Air traffic and passenger figures are still down by between five and seven per cent on last year, but yesterday 115'800 passengers used the terminal and air traffic control handled 847 flights. The airport launched its new telephone flight information line yesterday, although passengers are still advised to check with their airline or travel agents before calling the airport. The Spanish Federation of Travel Agents said yesterday that holiday bookings to northern Spain and the Mediterranean resorts will pick up, although with regards to the Balearics' problems, the tourist tax was blamed as well as last year's coach strikes. “Many people across Europe still have the picture of tourists having to struggle along dusty roads with their luggage in the heat,” federation sources said yesterday.

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