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Canaries suggest 20 new routes under Flight Development Fund 

Tourism chiefs in the Canaries are seeking airlines to operate 20 new routes under the Flight Development Fund.

The aim is to continue improving the connectivity of the islands with the fund acting as an incentive for the airline companies. The global budget allocated to this call is 3.2 million euros.

“The objective is to continue advancing in the achievement of new issuing markets and strengthen existing ones,” a spokesman for the Canary Government said. “If all the routes offered were put into operation, it would mean an additional capacity of at least 180,000 places of annual arrival. If you take into account that the initial commitment that airlines must assume is of a duration of two years, it means a total of 360,000 airplanes in two years.”

The routes have been chosen following anaylsis of the market and discussions between Turismo de Canarias and island bodies. Thus, the fund offers assistance for airlines interested in operating the following: Austria (Lanzarote-Vienna), Slovakia (Gran Canaria and Tenerife with Bratislava), the United States (Gran Canaria-New York), France (Lanzarote-Lyon), Italy (Lanzarote and Gran Canaria with Naples, Tenerife-Bari, La Palma-Milan), Poland (Fuerte-ventura-Warsaw), Portugal (Lanzarote-Lisbon), United Kingdom (La Palma with Edinburgh, Newcastle and Glasgow), Romania (Fuerte-ventura-Bucharest), Russia (Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria with Moscow and Tenerife with St. Petersburg) and Switzerland (Tenerife-Berne and La Palma-Basel).

The new offer is added to the 24 routes that were offered in the previous call of March 2017, which is still open, as some of them are still awaiting adjudication, such as Tenerife-New York, Bucharest-Gran Canaria, Vienna-La Palma and Bratislava-Lanzarote , among others.

Lyon-Gran Canaria, Hel-sinki-Gran Canaria, Lisboa-Tenerife and on sale for next win-ter Lyon-Fuer-teventura, and Niza-Tenerife are already opera-ting from this competition.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sports, Isaac Castellano said: “Since the approval of the Flight Develop-ment Fund in April 2014, 23 new routes have been opened. Some of the airlines need up to two years in advance before including them in their expan-sion plans.”

Managing director of Pro-motur Turismo de Canarias, María Méndez, addded: “In fact, we have learned from previous calls and now these remain open indefinitely allowing airlines to have them present in their decision committees, since that re-duced decision periods, such as those that are usually considered in other types of contests, do not seem feasible in this context.”

In addition to the fund, the tourism strategy of the Canary Islands includes assistance to international air transport forums, to provide relevant information on the seven destinations, publicise airport bonuses, tax advantages of the Canary Islands Special Zone, and share the material promotion of the Canary Islands and the innumerable marketing actions aimed at the final public that contribute to increasing the demand for seats to the islands. The amount of the incentives only represents the final push for the airlines that usually consider a large number of options.

The effort to improve connectivity has also been rewarded with the recognition of the aeronautical industry itself and the delivery of the two most important international awards in the field of air connectivity.

“It is a satisfaction to be recognised for this work and to receive the award for the best European destination within the framework of Routes Europe 2017 and to the best destination in the world in capturing air routes in the World Routes of 2017,” said María Méndez.