Tag: air travel

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

Menas Case: Foundation Siglo XXI directors allegedly filed false invoices, unrealistic expenses and repeatedly drew funds from ATMs, meant for the care of migrant children, even charging botox facial treatments and posh restaurant bills to foundation debit cards

A comprehensive analysis conducted by Group I of the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) of the National Police yielded scandalous results, writes Spanish language daily Canarias7, regarding the alleged irregular use of the public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied minors, by the suspected to have been perpetrated by centres managed by the Foundation Social Response Siglo XXI on Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. In this case, driven by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, investigators discovered that the director of the Guiniguada centre charged the NGO responsible for €1,500 worth of beauty treatments and €1,113 for bills at top restaurants including Vinófilos, El Vasco de Vegueta, and Triciclo.



Centre-Right Pact Between Regionalists (CC) And Resident Conservatives (PPAV) Returns Marco Aurelio Perez As Southern Mayor

The conservative Partido Popular-Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) and the right of centre regionalist Coalición Canaria (CC) have this Thursday signed a local government pact that will shape the future of the southern Gran Canaria tourism municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The alliance, dubbed a “Pact for Stability and Socioeconomic Progress of San Bartolomé Tirajana”, represents 60% of the votes cast in the municipality’s recent local elections, emphasised the  mayor-elect, Marco Aurelio Pérez (PP-AV), who returns for the third time to lead the local council responsible for some of the most important tourism areas on the island, including Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés and San Agustín.



Local Government Coalition Agreement Maspalomas and the South of Gran Canaria

A governing coalition pact has been finalised in San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The Popular Party–Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) conservative residents party is to join forces with regionalist centre-right Coalición Canaria (CC) to govern the main tourist municipality on Gran Canaria for the next four years. Marco Aurelio Pérez will serve as mayor for the entire four-year term, and the Popular Party will take charge of Employment, Sports, Roads and Infrastructure, and Human Resources, among other areas. The regionalists, led by Alejandro Marichal, will oversee Urban Planning, Economy and Finance, and Tourism as their main departments.



Storm Óscar Latest: Government of the Canary Islands Declares Rain Alert for Western Islands and Gran Canaria

A storm system, dubbed Óscar, has formed over the last few days over the mid-north Atlantic, unusual for this time of year, and has led to concern from meteorologists and journalists as it passes south of the Azores, its tail should reach The Canary Islands, before the system heads northeast towards mainland Spain.  Advisory warnings have been issued in expectation of heavy rainfall, primarily in the Western Isles of the Canary Islands Archipelago, though some rainfall is also expected to reach Gran Canaria over the next couple of days.  It seems unlikely that any major consequences will stem from the bad weather, however these things can be unpredictable and so every precaution is taken to ensure people are informed and kept safe.



Foundation Investigated for Alleged Mismanagement of Public Funds Meant for Care of Unaccompanied Migrant Minors

The 7th Investigative Court of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has opened a preliminary investigation into the Social Response Foundation Siglo XXI and four of its directors. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in Las Palmas filed a complaint against them, alleging crimes that could include forgery of commercial documents, mismanagement, and embezzlement of public funds. The investigation aims to determine whether this nonprofit organisation, and its officials, could have misused public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied migrant minors, during the migration crisis of 2020 that was precipitated by the pandemic confinement on the islands, leading to a build up of arrivals having to be assessed and cared for by the Canary Islands Regional Government, using hotels left empty due to the lack of tourism. The estimated amount involved in the alleged misuse stands at around €12.5 million between 2020 and 2022 on Gran Canaria alone.




Canary Islands Tourism launches an unprecedented strategy to encourage domestic travel market

The Canary Islands Regional Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, through the public company Promotur Turismo de Islas Canarias, has launched a never-before-seen strategy to encourage domestic tourism, especially focused on the accommodation sector. “We carried out an unprecedented exercise of communication and sales promotion, which we combined with a program to generate economic activity around the regulated tourist establishments of the eight islands,” explained the Regional Minister responsible for the area, Yaiza Castilla, during the presentation last Wednesday, 9 June.

The Ministry led by Yaiza Castilla have launched an ambitious campaign consisting of a communication strategy aimed at directly Canarian tourists and a series of measures to boost activity around accommodation establishments, with an investment of €16 million.
With the domestic tourism promotion, up to 50,000 Canarian residents will benefit from tourist vouchers, which will each have a balance of €200 charged to the program to promote holidays within the Archipelago until the end of this year.
According to the data from Promotur, the Canarian tourism is a market that is reactivated faster than the rest. From January to April, 76% of the demand that existed in 2019 for those same months has been recovered. In the summer of 2020, the domestic market gained a significant share and was responsible for 36% of total demand, compared to 19% in the summer of 2019. Along with peninsular tourism, which also gained a share in the accommodation demand (with Spanish tourism’s share of the pie increasing from 15% of the summer of 2019 to 25% of the summer of 2020), “Canarian tourism helped to boost tourist accommodation in the face of the loss of most of the international,” Castilla recalled.
However, the counsellor clarified that for the summer of 2021 there are slightly more optimistic forecasts for international tourism based on the latest measures adopted, such as the free movement of vaccinated people or the acceptance of antigen tests, as well as attenuation to the contagion numbers and the rate of vaccination in Europe. In any case, Castilla was cautious: “We cannot lose sight of the fact that the majority of countries and regions in our environment are promoting holidays at home for their citizens, some of them through very harsh travel restrictions and a large part through an incentive system ”.
For this reason, “we wanted to make a strong commitment to generate activity in our tourism sector promoting its economic recovery. That is our task as the Council responsible for the main economic engine of the Islands, for whose reactivation we must do everything possible, and that has also been our commitment to the employers ”, added Castilla.
The strategy consists of four parts, the first of which is a €1m communication campaign for domestic tourism, an unprecedented budget for this market. The action has been launched this week to serve as support over the coming weeks for three further initiatives to promote local tourism consumption and generate economic activity, to which €15 million will be allocated. These are a tourism voucher for accommodation, another tourism voucher for travel agencies and a stimulus line for complementary activities, budgeted a €5 million each.
“We have made an historic investment to promote Canarian tourism, with a total of €16 million and an extended execution period until December 2021, which will allow us to mobilise the internal market not only in summer, but also to tackle the re-entry into tourism normalisation, which we hope will intensify with our high season and in 2022 ”, explained Castilla.
Up to 50,000 Canarian residents will be able to access one of the two types of tourist vouchers, those for accommodation and those for travel agencies, which will be given as prepaid cards endowed with €200 that can be enjoyed until the end of the year. “These incentive mechanisms for domestic tourism consumption will ultimately benefit our companies and, therefore, their workers,” Castilla highlighted. To this initiative will be added another €5 million, for a line of incentives for complementary activities (leisure, restaurants and active tourism).

The tourist accommodation voucher will consist of a virtual or physical card that will be pre-loaded with €200 to which the resident beneficiary will have to contribute another €200 more. “We are convinced that this will be the final trigger to make the decision to travel within the Archipelago, a decision that will double the economic boost to the sector, which thanks to the participation of the Canaries will go from five to ten million euros,” said Managing Director of Promotur Turismo de Islas Canarias, José Juan Lorenzo. The formula to achieve one of these bonuses will be through a public draw before a notary, in order that all participants have the same possibilities.
During the first two weeks of July, Canarian residents over 18 years of age can register on the website www.somosafortunados.com to apply for a nominative card. The draw will be held on July 14 and a day later the list of winners will be published, at which time the voucher may begin to be used both to pay for the stay and to enjoy any other service offered by the chosen accommodation. People who obtain a voucher will be able to choose between the establishments registered in the General Tourist Registry of the Canary Islands that have adhered to this initiative and that have a POS with an assigned business number, in order for the beneficiary to use their card in a face-to-face setting.
The tourist voucher for travel agencies will be achieved through the same process, a draw before a notary public, and on the same dates. In this case, the first difference is that the card will also have a charge of €200, but the Canarian resident will not have to contribute any financial amount. This voucher must be spent in physical travel agencies, located on any of the eight islands, and must be used to contract a vacation package that involves a minimum stay of 5 days in summer season (between July and September) or a minimum stay of 3 days between October and December.

Gran Canaria summer season starts with the most ever air routes to mainland Spain

The Gran Canaria summer season will start boasting the greatest ever number of air connections to mainland Spain, now having direct links with 21 cities on the Peninsula.  460,000 airline seats will be available for the months of June, July and August, similar levels to those last seen in 2019, the summer before the global health crisis.



These announcements were made on the first day of International Tourism Fair FITUR, in Madrid, which opened yesterday signalling a return to tourism activity after the 2020 hiatus, with an atmosphere of optimism among tourism operators and institutions all reading signs of reactivation in the sector, starting with Spanish national tourism, which is the third most important market for Gran Canaria after Germany, and the United Kingdom.
According to president of the island government, the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, “the data is very positive, we are in a position to affirm, according to the airlines, that for this summer visitor figures [similar to] 2019 can be recovered, in addition to incorporating new destinations“.  Morales insisted, however, that it is necessary to “exercise responsibility” pointing out how important it is “not to lower our guard” saying “that the circumstances are occurring to recover tourism”, a process that new outbreaks could cut short.
Gran Canaria’s Councillor for Tourism, Carlos Álamo, also expressed optimism for the summer with interest received from agencies, tour operators and tourism agents and the milestone of connections with 21 airports to the Peninsula and to the eastern Balearic Islands this summer. “It is very important for the reactivation of a sector that has been very damaged and that, with respect to national tourists, not only recovers one hundred percent of the previous connections expanding more than ever before. We have communities like Asturias and Galicia to which five airlines are going to offer fixed routes this summer. In addition, this is a client of great interest to the destination for being above average in expenses. This confirms the interest in travelling to Gran Canaria and helps us face the summer with a certain degree of optimism ”, explained the counsellor and president of the Patronato de Turismo, Gran Canaria Tourist Board.
The cities of Reus and Jérez join those with direct flights to the island for the first time, and connectivity with Galicia and Asturias has been reinforced, with 5 different companies operating routes from these two communities in the north of Spain. The UK Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliot, attended the inauguration of the stand for Gran Canaria, where he had the opportunity to exchange views with Antonio Morales and Carlos Álamo.


Norwegian will close bases on Gran Canaria and Tenerife

Norwegian airlines has announced a cost reduction plan to close bases on Gran Canaria, Palma de Mallorca and Tenerife, as well as the cancellation of the Tenerife South-Rome route along with capacity reductions on some other routes. The decision does not affect any of the other five bases operated by Norwegian in Spain: Alicante, Barcelona (with two bases: short and long haul), Malaga or Madrid, nor its corporate headquarters in Barcelona.



Of the 122 routes they offer from 13 Spanish airports, only the one that connects Tenerife South with Rome is to be canceled, although the airline has specified that there will be a certain number of small capacity reductions on some other routes from Palma de Mallorca and Tenerife.
Specifically, starting next summer, the routes connecting Palma de Mallorca with several cities will be affected, Copenhagen reduced from 14 to 13 weekly frequencies, Oslo, from 9 to 8 weekly frequencies, Dusseldorf, from 9 to 7 weekly frequencies, and Helsinki, from 7 to 6 weekly frequencies. The Tenerife North-Madrid route will also be reduced from 9 to 7 weekly frequencies.
Norwegian, the sixth largest airline in Spain by passenger volume, transported 8.93 million passengers to and from the country during 2018, 6% more than in 2017.
As part of its cost reduction program, Norwegian has initiated a comprehensive review of operations with its Boeing 737 (both the 800 and MAX 8 models), with the aim of improving profitability, reducing the commercial impact of seasonality and, therefore, hoping to increase revenues and profitability while reducing costs.
The aim of the Norwegian airline, which employs 11,000 people around the world, is to ensure that the least possible number of workers are affected by these changes. For this, it proposes relocation transfers to long-range operations (with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner), basic transfers of facilities and similar requests, all in an attempt to avoid redundancies.
All these measures will result in the suspension of routes and bases in Europe and the United States. The decision affects some of the routes that are being operated by the Boeing 737-800 and 737 models. MAX 8, which are mainly used on European routes but also on those that connect with the United States or the Middle East.
“The company has reached a point where it needs to make the necessary adjustments in its route portfolio to improve its sustainability and financial performance in this highly competitive environment,” said Helga Bollmann Leknes, Norwegian commercial director and managing director of Norwegian Air Resources.
She also explained that these measures, including the plans to close bases, have been communicated to the unions, with which dialogue has already begun, and  reiterated the “clear objective” of avoiding redundancies.


British government announce lower test prices, while Ambassador discusses UK holiday travel to the Spanish islands this May “if the incidence of COVID-19 is low”

The ambassador of the United Kingdom in Spain, Hugh Elliott, visited the Spanish islands, and reported this Thursday from Palma de Mallorca, to confirm that the British Government are closely studying the data that will hopefully allow travel to the Balearic and Canary Islands from May, so long as the incidence of the coronavirus remains low, regardless of the epidemiological situation in the rest of Spain.



For the latest Canary Islands data on Covid-19, updated daily, check our Canary Islands dashboard

At a press conference, Elliot affirmed that his Government has already received this request from the Islands commenting that it is “very well founded” due to the low level of infections, the “quality information” on the evolution of the pandemic, the scientific capacity to sequence the virus on the islands and the fact that being islands, makes it possible to have direct flights to and from the United Kingdom.
The British Government has taken the request “very seriously” and there is a “coincidence of interests” in allowing the British to travel to their traditional holiday destinations “as soon as possible”.
In any case, he stressed, the British Government will report by May 17 if they are to allow their citizens to travel abroad, to which countries and under what conditions, including the types of anti-covid tests that they must present upon their return.
The president of the Balaeric Government, Francina Armengol, met this Wednesday with the United Kingdom’s ambassador to Spain, on the diplomat’s first official visit to the Islands. The ambassador also held meetings in Ibiza.

Meanwhile, back in London, Transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced to Parliament that they have been looking at the various types of tests that will be required for holiday travel, to try to select the most effective and cost efficient.  He was very pleased to be able to announce that there are now tests available for less than £60 each, and that there are even suppliers looking to bring costs down even further.
The UK de-escalation process is continuing, with travellers expected to be able to go on holiday as early as May 17.  Many are hoping that some of the earliest green listed regions will include the Spanish islands, though health officials have made clear that they will be led by the science, and maintain traveller safety as their first priority.

Good news: the price of government-approved commercial PCR tests for travel – when it resumes – is falling.
These tests are vital as we ensure the safe return to ‘green list’ international travel – so it’s good to see providers are able to make them more affordable ? pic.twitter.com/sJrsSITYaJ
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) April 29, 2021


Me he reunido con @F_Armengol Presidenta Balear, el Portavoz del Gobern y Conseller de @Treball_goib @Iagonegue y la Consellera de @HisendaGOIB @Rosanchezgrau para agradecerles el apoyo a la comunidad?? durante la pandemia y hablar del regreso del turismo que tanto deseamos todos pic.twitter.com/eNvnJSXtsp — Hugh Elliott (@HughElliottUK) April 29, 2021


Canary Islands Tourism Minister, Yaiza Castilla, says we will need to halve our infection rates to get on the British Travel Green List

Canary Islands Tourism Minister, Yaiza Castilla, yesterday made clear that so far as she can see, in the first instance, “we will not be on the list,” when it comes to the British Travel Green List, due to be announced by UK authorities as part of their plan to reopen holiday travel. She pointed out that a reduction in the Accumulated Incidence rates of coronavirus is a first level objective for the Archipelago.  She thinks we have some way to go before we will be deemed as low risk by the British, but no-one yet really knows the criteria of assessment.



All eyes are on the soon to be announced British “traffic light” system which will be used to regulate which destinations are deemed of low, medium or high risk for British travellers. Being added to the British Travel Green List would mean having a 14-day Accumulated Incidence, AI, infection rate, at a value equal to or less than 50 per hundred thousand inhabitants. These Islands, as a region, remain at above 100/1ook at present, and although our actual numbers have remained extraordinarily low, and it appears that the Canary Islands are now returning to the improvement phase, we no longer have enough time to reduce our AI as much as would be necessary in the two weeks before the British start announcing their assessments, ahead of their May 17 date of “earliest” travel.
In addition, Castilla points out that no-one really knows the full criteria for the UK evaluation process, as it is still in development, although it was leaked that as well as the accumulated AI, the number of population already vaccinated as well as the ease with which travellers can access reliable data, among others indicators, will also be considered for the final categorisation deciding which countries are put on the British Travel Green List.
British Secretary for Transport, Grant Shapps, has indicated that the regional archipelagos would be assessed separately from the rest of mainland Spain, as well as their distance from the continental territory and their ability to control arrivals and departures.  But it is not currently expected that the UK will differentiate between islands, or even by province, and so the data for the entire region will affect the classification given.
Airlines, tour operators and travel agencies have already been able to communicate to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Government that the reactivation of the travel sector is of key importance to Spain, as it has such a major impact on the country’s GDP and the tens of thousands of workers in the accommodation business who would be unemployed.
In any case, as Castilla pointed out, the Islands are not likely to be among the first to be green-lighted by the British Government because, they still remain focused on Spain as a whole, with regard to the assessment of the safety of the various regions.  London has not yet separated their advice, though further announcements are due to be made in the next couple of weeks ahead of their reopening of international flights, expected on May 17, when the countries and areas that are to be first marked green, amber or red will be announced.  There is an expectation that this list will be reviewed weekly and updated every two weeks, but that has yet to be confirmed.
Too many things stand in the way for now, with not enough deadlines between now and then to think that it can be reached on time. The Minister of Tourism stated that she will once again request a particular evaluation for these Islands from all the British public officials with whom she communicates, and will do the same from other countries that represent important source markets for the islands.

Castilla was speaking yesterday at the launch of The Canary Islands Tourist board’s new dynamic website system, designed to deliver a highly personalised website front page, different for each user, based on their recent search history and algorithms designed to deliver the most relevant content and attractions for every individual visitor to the site.



Binter adds new direct weekly air routes, connecting Canary Islands with French, Italian and Spanish cities, among 26 other destinations beyond the archipelago

The Canary Islands airline, Binter have announced that from July it will open new international routes operating direct links with five destinations in Italy and France. The homegrown airline, which started with inter-island flights, expands their connections with regular flights to the European airports of Toulouse, Marseille and Lille, in France, and Turin and Venice, in Italy.



Binter will maintain the routes to mainland Spain they currently operate and, in addition, this summer will open a new route with Tarragona, expanding their offer to ten direct flight routes between the mainland and the Canary Islands.
The announcement was made at a press conference last week with Rodolfo Núñez, president of Binter, and Juan Ramsden, the general coordinator of the company, together with the president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, the Minister of Public Works, Transport and Housing, Sebastián Franquis, and the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Yaiza Castilla, who emphasised the great effort that the airline has made to improve connectivity with the Archipelago and the new possibilities offered by the incorporation of five new jet aircraft to its fleet.
Núñez highlighted the importance of Canarian companies firmly committing to recovery on the Islands, promoting all those initiatives that are within their reach to achieve that goal. “This new international leap represents a great challenge for Binter in a very complex context, but we continue to invest in the connectivity of the entire archipelago, of the eight islands, following the strategic plan that we drew up before the pandemic. In the future, if all goes well, and according to plan, we will continue to put more frequencies and perhaps more destinations, both from Tenerife and from Gran Canaria, and without ruling out direct flights to, or from, other islands. The important thing is to sell all the Canary Islands as a whole ”, he pointed out.
Juan Ramsden encouraged political representatives to continue working to advance the vaccination process and highlighted the importance of developing, in the short term, the European health passport, which will allow safe mobility for all travellers. “It is necessary for anyone who wishes to travel by plane to another country or region to know that they can do so in complete safety, without obstacles, or complex regulations,” he said.

On Binter routes there will now be 94 direct weekly connections and more than 600,000 seats per year, between the archipelago and Spanish and European destinations, operated by the Canarian airline. These flights will be carried out using five new Embraer aircraft, model E195-E2, the quietest, cleanest and most efficient single-aisle jet aircraft in its class; with a configuration that allows more space between rows and the comfort of not having a seat in the middle. To this are added other differential advantages, such as its characteristic quality on-board service, which includes courtesy catering during the flight.
Recently, the company has been recognised, for constant renewal of its fleet, by the Swiss airlines services provider Ch-Aviation, for currently having one of the youngest fleets in Europe, with an average age of 4.8 years for its 28 aircraft.
Ángel Víctor Torres, president of the Canary Islands, referred to Binter’s presentation as “a day for good news” and stressed the value of this airline’s decision to expand air connectivity with the Islands. Through the incorporation of new national and international routes, a project, he said, that is relevant “for Canarians and for tourism in our Archipelago.”

18 direct weekly flights between the Canary Islands and these new European destinations

Binter has scheduled 18 weekly flights with the new European destinations, so that most will have connections two days a week.
The connections with Lille will be on Mondays and Thursdays with departure at 10.45 am from Gran Canaria and return at 4:40 pm, with arrival time in the Canary Islands at 8 pm. Toulouse will be linked on Tuesdays and Saturdays with a very similar schedule, departing at 10.30 am on Tuesdays and at 11.00 am on Saturdays from the Canary Islands and return at 3.45 pm, or 4.15 pm on Saturdays. The route with Marseille, there will be on Fridays with departure from the Islands at 10:30 am and return at 4:10 pm, to land in the Canary Islands at 7:00 pm.
Both Italian destinations will have two weekly links. On Mondays and Wednesdays there will be flights to Venice, departing from the Canary Islands at 10.20 a.m. and returning at 4.35 p.m., to reach the Archipelago at 8.15 p.m. Turin will be connected on Tuesdays and Saturdays with departure at 11.00 a.m. from Gran Canaria Airport on Tuesdays and at 10.30 a.m. on Saturdays and return at 4:45 p.m. or 4:20 p.m., with arrival time on the island at 8:05 p.m. or 7:40 p.m. .
Free connections with other islands and launch promotion
On all these international and national routes, Binter are offering passengers the advantage of travelling, at no additional cost, to and from any of the Canary Islands, by being able to make the inter-island jump free of charge in the case of connecting flights, taking advantage of the 170 daily inter-island flights that the airline already operates between the islands.
Binter are launching their new connections with France, Italy and Tarragona with a promotion that will allow customers to purchase tickets at very attractive prices.
Tickets for these destinations can now be purchased through the company’s usual sales channels: www.bintercanarias.com, the Binter app, by telephone on 922/928 32 77 00, through travel agencies and their offices at airports.
Investing in the external connectivity of the Islands
Binter began operating in the Canary archipelago in 1989 to offer connections between all the islands with a clear focus on public service.
In 2005, they also began operating outside the Canary Islands with the aim of offering direct connections to other markets, a program that has grown over the years, with flight routes to Portugal, reaching Lisbon and Madeira; Africa, linking the Canary Islands with destinations such as Casablanca, Marrakech, Agadir, Dakhla, El Aaiún, Nouakchott, Dakar, Banjul and the island of Sal.
In 2018, the airline began regular operations with Spanish national destinations, first to Mallorca and Vigo and, later, to Pamplona, ​​Zaragoza, Murcia, Santander, Vitoria, Asturias and Cádiz (Jerez de la Frontera). In 2021, direct flights with Tarragona are to be incorporated.
Added to all these routes this summer are the Italian cities of Turin and Venice, and the French cities of Marseille, Toulouse and Lille, with which Binter connects the Canary Islands and a total of 26 destinations beyond the archipelago.


The Canary News

The Canary Islands Flight Development Fund will need to address lost connectivity across 80 air routes, accounting for 64% of the routes pre-pandemic

During talks over Spain’s Flight Development Fund, Canary Islands Regional Government Minister of Tourism, Yaiza Castilla, this week asked Spanish Central Government Tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, to provide a specific plan for the islands aimed at allowing the archipelago to recover all the lost the air connectivity that has resulted from the covid-19 pandemic.



Castilla made the request during the Tourism Sector Conference held last week. Although the Canary Islands has a Flight Development Fund she says this “is insufficient” to recover all the routes that have been lost. “Tour operators, airlines and the tourism sector tell us we need the State to help us with this,” Castilla said.
She pointed out that other competing destinations, such as Turkey and Egypt, are already investing in recovering lost connectivity. Adding that if we do not start up in the Canary Islands very soon, the archipelago will be at a disadvantage when tourism demand eventually reactivates.
The first call for funding from the Flight Development Fund, endowed with €500,000 for routes that start operating in April and May, closed last week with a total of 20 applications. The Ministry of Tourism is now working on analysing the documentation and calculating each applicant.
Canary Islands, air connectivity has been greatly affected by covid. The pandemic has almost halved the destinations to which you can fly from the Canary Islands. Of the 146 with whom there was a flight before covid, between the islands and the peninsula and abroad, 74 remain, after having lost 72, according to the official comparison of connectivity data from the Canary Islands Ministry of Tourism, between February 2019 and February 2021. To those 72 we must add the routes now lost with Morocco as that country has once again closed its borders, bringing the figure to around 80 destinations lost.
Connections to these 146 destinations were operated by 44 airlines, bringing the number of total air routes to 732 per month. In the meeting with Minister Reyes Maroto, the Regional Minister indicated that, despite the benefits offered by these incentives, “they do not come close” to what will be needed to recover all the lost connectivity. The Canary Islands have stopped operating flights from 80 cities or airports during the pandemic. If the more than 40 airlines that operated with the islands before covid, who have now stopped, are taken into account, the routes cut account for 64% of air connectivity prior to COVID-19. Those 732 monthly air routes now reduced to just to 262.
Compared to the 13,849 flights that were counted in February 2019 to and from the Canary Islands, this number fell to just 5,243 in 2021. Among the heaviest losses among frequent routes are included Barcelona, ​​which fell from 308 to 117 flights per month; Berlin, which had 194 and now just 48; Dublin, fell from 175 to 31 flights; Dusseldorf, from 269 to 60; Edinburgh, from 111 to 8; Glasgow, from 122 to 16; Hamburg, from 154 to 20; London-Stansted, 211 to just 12; Madrid, from 935 to 335; Malaga, from 103 to 15; Manchester, from 399 to 58 flights a month; Newcastle, from 118 to 16; Seville, from 130 to 22 and Munich, from 153 to 51, among others.
The Government of the Canary Islands plans to draw up a second Flight Development Fund for the second half of this year and will be seeking a greater amount to recover part of these lost routes.


What you need to know: Spain’s newly finalised Law of The New Normality is causing confusion about having to wear a mask even when sunbathing

For many, particularly in The Canary Islands, it was a bit of a bombshell to learn that Spain’s finalised Law of The New Normality, announced on Tuesday, will mean having to wear a mask everywhere, even when lying sunbathing on the beach or at the pool. The legislation comes into force throughout Spain this Wednesday, just ahead of the main four-day easter weekend. The latest Official State Gazette (BOE) tightens mandatory regulations for the use of face masks and makes very clear: it must always be worn, regardless of interpersonal distance, both outdoors and indoors, whether in public or private. And so, many are reporting that also includes places like the beach.
The simple fact is that not only have these laws been in the legislative pipeline for many months, and so are not new at all, but the BOE itself does not mention beaches, or swimming pools, nor does it announce any major changes to how these rules are interpreted. There will be further clarifications over the coming hours and days, but in the first instance this law should be seen as an extension to the measures already announced, and not a change of legislation.



Most of the newly published law, however, is really no different from the rules that have been in place since last June, when the so-called lockdown confinement was de-escalated with a decree law to end the first State of Emergency.
Despite the fact that here in the Canary Islands, until now, we have been able to follow our own regional regulation of these spaces, Spanish state standards supersede regional directives. This now means that the only exception to the use of masks, that had been allowed here on the Islands when lying down to sunbathe and so long as a safety distance of two meters was maintain, is now potentially ruled out, at least for the immediate and foreseeable future.

Spain’s central government will study whether it is necessary to “qualify” the newly published rules in a meeting this Wednesday

Spain’s Official State Gazette (BOE) published the new provisions, in a revision and clarification of the previous New Normality rules, in an attempt to further contain the coronavirus, in the face of what some health experts fear could be a European fourth wave of infection. Spain’s central government, however, will study whether it is necessary to “qualify” the newly published rules, at some point, in a meeting that will be held this Wednesday, together with the leaders of all 17 regional autonomous communities.

The Not-So-New Normality

This law has been a long time coming, it was not really a surprise
The New Normality measures announced, however, are not, strictly speaking, new. As far back as last summer most of these stipulations were written into the laws being discussed in the Spanish legislature, however the administrative process to pass these measures into law takes many months, and so during the interim time it was left to regional authorities to implement, as promptly as possible, the basic tenets contemplated. This is, in essence, what has allowed for leeway in how to implement these measures on a regional basis. Now that the measures have passed into Spanish law, all regions are expected to confirm with the wording of that law, and any changes requested, will likely take time to enact.

Don’t Panic! This pandemic is still far from over.

All in all, the new law has been expected for many months, though most had contemplated the published legislation would try to take account of how the measures were actually working in practice, so for some this is seen as an oversight by central government, for others however, concerned about rising infections, and with one of the main national annual holiday weekends looming, this is being seen as a well timed reminder that this pandemic is far from over, and a necessary control measure to help ensure that healthcare services do not become overwhelmed, just as vaccine rollouts have finally begun to offer hope to millions of citizens eager to eventually overcome the devastating affect of more than a year of public health crisis and the subsequent economic collapse that is being experienced all across the world.
“Law 2/2021, of March 29, on urgent prevention, containment and coordination measures to face the health crisis caused by Covid-19” (“Ley 2/2021, de 29 de marzo, de medidas urgentes de prevención, contención y coordinación para hacer frente a la crisis sanitaria ocasionada por la COVID-19“) is a compendium of de-escalation measures that were already agreed back in June 2020, on the basis that the first decree of the state of alarm that the Government had approved has expired.
The New Normality Law
Spain’s Official State Gazette (BOE) published the Draft Law, known as The Law of The ‘New Normality’, which was approved on March 18 in the Congress of Deputies. Among the measures contemplated in the text, which enters into force this Wednesday will remain “until the pandemic ends”. In any case, masks will not be required for people who can verify that they have some type of illness or respiratory difficulty that may be aggravated using the mask or who, due to disability or dependency, would not be able to remove the mask on their own, or who present behavioural issues that make the use of masks unviable or counterproductive.
With the newly published New Normality law, the requirement to wear a mask in outdoor spaces is now applicable to all communities, which can no longer regulate their own exceptions or graduate how the law is applied.
The New Normality articles published yesterday clearly states: “People of six years of age and older are obliged to use masks (…) on public roads, in outdoor spaces and in any closed space for public use or that is open to the public”. This implies, for example, parks, beaches or swimming pools. Also when using “air, maritime, bus, or rail transport”, as well as in “complementary public and private transport of passengers in vehicles with up to nine seats, including the driver, if the occupants of the tourism vehicles they do not live at the same address”.
When travelling by sea, passengers on ships and boats, it will not have to wear masks when they are in their own cabin.

What else does this New Normality law say?
All in all this law is simply finalising the text of the rules that have already been in place since summer 2020, clarifying some of the points of contention to follow the best advice given to the Government of Spain, and regulates the application of those rules throughout all Spanish territories.
The law now states that sale of single surgical masks, not individually packaged, can only be carried out in pharmacies, guaranteeing adequate hygiene conditions that safeguard the quality of the product.
Sports, exceptions and health issues:
Current exceptions to the use of masks have been preserved in the new wording: individual outdoor sport and people who have disease or respiratory difficulty, aggravated by the use of masks or who, due to their situation of disability or dependency, would not be able to take it off on their own.
Force majeure or situations of necessity are included as an exception or when, due to the very nature of the activities, the use of the mask is not compatible, as already stated in previous legislation.
Going to work
People who present symptoms compatible with COVID-19 or are in home isolation should not go to their workplace. If a worker begins to have COVID-19 compatible symptoms, they must immediately contact the telephone number set up by their autonomous community or health centre, and they must put on a mask and “follow the recommendations indicated, until their situation is assessed by a healthcare professional.”
Business owners, or the directors of the centres and other entities, must guarantee adequate ventilation and disinfection measures, and have water and soap or hydro-alcoholic gels available at all times  for cleaning workers’ hands. Likewise, everyone must adapt working conditions to maintain an interpersonal safety distance of  a minimum 1.5 metres (or adequate protective equipment, if that is not possible) and organise work schedules to avoid overcrowding.
Finally, business owners must “adopt measures for the progressive reincorporation in person to the jobs and the promotion of the use of telework when it is possible due to the nature of the work activity”.
No change for shops, hotels and shows
The competent administrations must ensure compliance by the owners of hotels, shops or cultural shows with the regulations for capacity, disinfection, prevention and conditioning that are determined.
They will have to ensure the necessary measures to guarantee a minimum interpersonal distance of 1.5 meters and avoid crowds.
Schools without crowds
Conditions must be guaranteed so that there is no crowding and that both students and workers can comply with “the indications of distance or limitation of contacts, as well as personal prevention measures.”
Sanitary system
The competent administrations must ensure the sufficient availability of health professionals with the capacity to reorganise them according to priorities at all times. They must guarantee of a sufficient number of professionals for the prevention and control of the disease, its early diagnosis, attention to cases and epidemiological surveillance.

La ley de “nueva normalidad” [The Law of The New Normal] https://t.co/Kq7YZaY7up
— Miki&Duarte (@MikiyDuarte) March 31, 2021

During the New Normality legislative final debate in Congress, the Lower House of the Spanish Parliament, the Cortes, the Health Minister, Carolina Darias, stressed that this law will “allow progress in the control of the pandemic and also in functions of surveillance, inspection and control of cases.”
“This rule will be central to the management of the pandemic until it’s end. It includes a good part of the commitment acquired during the management of this painful crisis. It is called to be a source of knowledge for those who have to make similar decisions in the future”, said the minister in defence of the move.
Guillermo Díaz, from the Ciudadanos party, used the opportunity to highlight the incorporation of an amendment from his party for the suspension of the medical inspection visa for the prescription of triple therapy in the treatment of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), throughout the pandemic. “It will avoid bureaucratic treatments to access the best of treatments,” he celebrated. Keeping in tune with the Minister of Health, Díaz defended the need for this law: “We cannot face a pandemic again with royal decrees, except to qualify a rule that already exists.” In any case, he demanded that the Executive “propose to establish legislation that allows a better response to a situation like this in the future.”
Laura Márquez, from Unidos Podemos, part of Spain’s governing coalition, said she was also satisfied with the incorporation into the legislative text of an extension to research contracts during the pandemic, but insisted that those working to combat the pandemic should have proper work full time contracts saying “it is necessary to address the problem of temporality in scientific research.”
“Even people who are researching vaccines in our country have temporary contracts. We must guarantee the stability of our scientists, really, without cheating or cardboard [cutouts],” she added.
The opposition PP deputy Ana Pastor, herself a former Minister of Health, said that she regretted that the New Normality document does not incorporate any of the 45 amendments presented by her main opposition group. “Never before has the parliament been so ignored as in this legislature.” she said. “Decrees have become the norm, as has happened with this one. They have not accepted any of the 45 amendments from my party. Do you not realise that this decree arrives just as it [was originally suggested], that it has only incorporated five amendments?”, she pointed out by way of example. Pastor criticised that the Government, saying that this law, “has been unable to incorporate what the health system urgently needs.” She demanded to know “Why have they not supported our amendments?”
PSOE’s deputy Carmen Andrés Añón replied that the PP amendments were “very far” from the “nature” of the guidelines, since “they intended an exhaustive regulation of all foreseeable possible and impossible situations, and in this way would handicap the Inter-territorial Council in its decision-making “.
“In addition,” she said “they raised a clear conflict of powers with the autonomous communities. They were very far from the Constitution and the spirit of the law,” she concluded.


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