Spanish boom sparks delay fears

Spanish boom sparks delay fears

A BOOM in bookings to Spain this summer has sparked fears of increased delays for passengers at airports.

Rolf Freitag, chairman of independent research company IPK International, which uses the Aviation and Travel Consultancy as its UK agency, said traffic to Spain would be particularly high this summer because the war in Kosovo had deterred business to the eastern Mediterranean.

But he added: “There are tremendous air transport problems. The airports are out of capacity.”

Freitag claimed Spanish tourism and government officials had told him capacity would be tightest this summer at Madrid, Majorca, Malaga and Barcelona airports.

Air 2000’s head of flight operations Graham Williamson said it would be doing 4,567 sectors to Spain this year, compared with 3,440 last year.

He said: “There are issues with air traffic control but we are dealing with them.”

A Spanish Tourist Board spokeswoman admitted air traffic to Spain would rise by 15% this year, but said this was being addressed by developments such as a new terminal at Madrid and a new airport at La Gomera in the Canary Islands.

n UK director raitt steps down at Dubai

Ian Raitt, UK and Ireland director for Dubai’sDepartment of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, is stepping down at the end of July after nine years in the post. Raitt will be replaced by Patrick Macdonald, who was previously based in Dubai as deputy to the DTCM’s director general Khalid bin Sulayem.

n macau sees increase in UK visitor numbers

The Macau Government Tourist Office has reported a 22% increase in UK tourists to more than 17,000 in the first quarter of 1999. The Portuguese colony, which is located near Hong Kong, is due to be handed over to China this December.

n vinopolis prepares for july opening

New leisure attraction Vinopolis, City of Wine, is due to open on Bankside in London on July 22. The £23m project features a multimedia tour, winetastings, restaurants and educational facilities.


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