Government: “Opposition Are Petty And Small Minded On Air Routes”

The Government says the GSD's comments on the proposed air connection between Gibraltar and Bilbao “shows how petty and small-minded they can be”.

A statement from the Government follows below: 

The fact is that the Ministry for Tourism have acted in the same way as their counterparts in any other part of the world would have done. First, when approached by Volotea and asked whether Gibraltar supported such flights the answer given was that the Government had no objection. Sec ondly,the airline was asked to obtain all the necessary permits and consents. That was a matter for the airline. 

The Opposition have therefore chosen to make a mountain out of a molehill with little regard to what is good for Gibraltar and more in line with the internal battle for relevance within the GSD itself. 

Moreover,the Government continues to be of the view that Gibraltar’s main market for tourism by air remains without question the United Kingdom and this is where the Government will continue to concentrate its efforts. There are presently no flights between Gibraltar and the European Union. The last air connection with Spain, which followed the 2006 Cordoba agreement, ceased to operate after issues with the timing of the flights and the cost of the air tickets. The truth is that, for this reason, flights to the European Union are at this stage simply a bonus. It remains to be seen whether any treaty which sets out the future relationship of Gibraltar with the EU actually includes aviation or not. 

The Minister for Tourism,the Hon Vijay Daryanani said:“The good news, whatever the Opposition may say, is that our route network to the United Kingdom continues to expand with new airlines and new destinations. It will be recalled that Eastern Airways has announced operations which will link Gibraltar to Southampton and Birmingham, Wizz Air to London Luton and existing operator Easyjet has added Edinburgh to its schedule – all subject to the evolution of the pandemic. This is positive for Gibraltar. Gibraltar has never had such an extensive network of airlinks to the UK and this is something on which I would have thought the GSD, if they were being fair, would want to congratulate the Government. Indeed, given that the influx of safe tourism this summer is most likely to be from the UK,these are the airlinks we most need to see operating effectively. Sadly,the GSD Opposition have chosen to be negative and destructive, which seems to be their default position. Their double-standards are beyond belief. All this comes from a party that in office once trumpeted flights by an airline that did not even exist!”