Air taxi business has been booming at Palma airport.

10-08-2012Miquel À. Cañellas

Figures from the airports authority Aena show that private jet and air taxi traffic at Palma's Son Sant Joan Airport has increased by 40% over the past three years. Between January and July there was a 9.2% increase in flights and 15,466 passengers in all (up 5.4%). July was the busiest month. There were 1,758 planes and 4,255 passengers. A typical daily average of some fifty flights was up to over one hundred at weekends.

Gestair, one of two general aviation operators at the airport, says that there has been exponential growth in recent years because of increased demand for this type of travel from businesspeople and wealthy holidaymakers.

The air taxis, which are shared private jets, come mainly from Barcelona, Malaga and Madrid for domestic services and from Berlin, Cannes, Farnborough, Munich, Nice, Nuremburg and Sardinia for European services. Palma has around 20% of all air taxi traffic in Spain.

Although a means of travel for the wealthy, services have a "low-cost" element, which refers to very light jets with four places capable of speeds of 700 kph and flying at 12,000 metres for three hours. A typical price per hour is between 3,500 and 5,200 euros per person: so, not that low cost then.