Mallorca Bulletin

The pirates of Palma

- Forbes

New season, same season as it ever was. Even before the starting pistol was fired for the first of May commenceme­nt of the official tourism season, the laments had been emanating from familiar points of conflict on the island. One was the airport. The ludicrous business with cars stopping to pick up rather than use the car parks was seemingly on the back burner, as the annual confrontat­ions between licensed taxi drivers and ‘pirate' transport operators were growing more heated.

The taxis suspended service for two and a half hours on Monday after a taxi driver was given a slap by the driver of a minibus - a ‘pirate'. There had been some trading of insults prior to this and more were to follow. Airport security and the National Police were needed to keep the warring factions apart, the taxi drivers criticisin­g the complete absence of any Palma local officers. But the taxis know, as we all do now because of the arrivals parking nonsense, that there is no such thing as a permanent presence of Palma police at the airport, a general consensus being that this presence is the only thing that will stop the confrontat­ions by moving the pirates on. There was, however, one other thing that could mean an end. Regardless of

Miquel Fluxà is now 84. One of Mallorca’s most recognisab­le businesspe­ople, courtesy of his mane of white hair, he is the boss of Iberostar, a hotel group which only started in 1986 but which has since risen to form one of the ‘Big Four’ companies along with the older-establishe­d Barceló, Meliá and Riu.

magazine in Spain has named him its CEO of the year, an accolade which is partly in recognitio­n of an historical commitment to the internatio­nalisation of Spain’s hotel industry Iberostar’s first overseas venture was in the Dominican Republic in 1993. He is also a member of a family business dynasty which started in Inca in 1877 and which has given Mallorca and the world leading footwear brands - Camper and Lottusse.

Balearic government regulation­s which stipulate that all forms of transport other than the licensed taxis at the airport must have prior appointmen­ts in order to pick up, representa­tives of the taxis and the pirates were due to hold talks on Friday to try and hammer out their own solutions. These would involve a ticket office in arrivals for the pirates (the airports authority Aena would have to permit this) and agreement by the pirates not to take fewer than five people; the minibuses typically have room for eighteen passengers.

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