Another current confusion for both residents and prospective visitors is what exactly is being offered as far as fights to and from Menorca this season. Roqueta recently met with Eva Valenzuela Martí, the director at the airport, to get an update.
The airport does not have any say on pricing of fights: it is merely the facilitator and gatekeeper of the comings and goings. Having said that, Valenzuela confirmed that the number of seats available from the UK over this summer season has increased for 2018 from 2017. There will be 1.2 million seats on offer, which equates to 600,000 passengers (the UK easily makes up the largest number of visitors apart from Spain).
Two airlines have increased their capacity considerably. EasyJet has a 40% increase across Europe for the season, and will fly in the UK from Luton, Stanstead, Gatwick, Bristol and Manchester. They have also confirmed that over the winter period they will run two services a week from Gatwick, probably Tuesday and Friday. This is a better service than Monarch recently offered, and means that shorter breaks and visits will be available. Welcome news, but not that surprising as the Monarch flights had load factors of between 70 – 80% in the least demanded months of January and February.
From the UK, Thomson and Thomas Cook have similar seats available as in 2017, but Jet2 have 17% more seats available, 240,000 in 2018. They will be providing a service from Belfast, Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Stanstead, Manchester and Newcastle.
At the time of writing the Ryanair link from Menorca to Barcelona and Palma is not scheduled, but this may change. Overall their capacity is currently 40% down from 2017.
Eva has no control over, or insight into when these flights will become available on-line. It is just a question of keep looking.
It should be noted that this information does not represent any forecast of passenger traf c. It is the programming data updated to February according to the information provided by the airlines. It should be noted that there could be substantial changes in passenger figures during the season depending on demand.
This is another worry for UK passport holders. Is there going to be a big slow down as passports are checked? Well not for now as we are still in Europe, but it is a possibility in the future with a hard Brexit.
The current system is slower than previously. New regulations have come into force for those countries in the Schengen Agreement, which govern the free movement of people across the 26 borders of members. From this year, those traveling between any of these states have to have their passport checked and validated. This will take more time but is nothing to do with discriminating against UK passport holders because of Brexit. The same rules apply if you are a visitor from – or visiting – France, Germany and other Schengen countries.
The bigger difference is that passports should now be checked when entering and leaving a country. This in theory means that your passport should be checked at the airport when leaving Menorca. This is not the current practice and could add time onto the pre-boarding procedure. In practice this may be hard for Menorca to enforce in the height of the season when there may be 5 or 6 aeroplanes leaving at a similar time. The answer may be that for now they may spot check some flights at random.
The parking in the drop off zone at departures is being reworked to make it easier and less dangerous to reverse into a parking spot. This will be achieved by reducing the width of the pavement to allow a free- owing lane and a parking lane side by side.
The airport is doing its bit for the environment. All the water that falls on the site is collected and re-used. They are fitting solar panels to the roof of the long-stay, and next year to the main carpark.
The toilets are being updated, especially in providing more facilities for ladies on arrival at the airport.
And to finish, Eva confirmed that there remained a lot of focus on creating a positive experience at the airport and the delivery of a top-quality service. Ed’s experience of traveling through the airport at all times of year is excellent. It provides a very upbeat arrival and departure for visitors.