A spokesman (presumably a Government spokesman) speaking about the Government visit to the 5th edition of the Routes Europe Forum is reported as having said "The Gibraltar Delegation will be having a number of pre-arranged meetings with airlines to discuss new market opportunities in Gibraltar upon the completion of the new Air Terminal next year; a new Air Terminal of which Gibraltar will be justifiably proud" . The Minister for Transport, Joe Holliday, is reported as saying that the new Air Terminal "... will provide the Gibraltar Delegation with the ideal opportunity to promote the excellent facilities that will become available in the New Air Terminal to a wide audience airline executives."
I do not profess any great knowledge of the travel or airline industry save as a passenger but am I expected to believe that the new Air Terminal is considered by the GSD administration to be a determinative factor in attracting new air routes to Gibraltar? Am I expected to believe also that the failure of the air routes to Madrid, Tangier, Casablanca and Marrakesh that have been established and failed during the time in power of the present Government is down to not having a spanking brand new Air Terminal costing tens of millions of pounds?
I always thought it was down to other considerations like catchment area, demand, competitiveness, lack of alternative destinations nearby and I imagine much more. Past events indicate that Gibraltar has issues on many of these fronts that have not been surmounted by any government and certainly not by the GSD Government.
Am I missing something? Is the new Air Terminal the panacea that will cure everything that has led to such a singular failure in the past of new air routes or to attract new airlines and routes to Gibraltar? I have my doubts but I am no expert. I am sure that the Minister is advised by those far better qualified than me to know what a great competitive difference the new Air Terminal will make such as to attract new airlines and routes to Gibraltar.
But one second doesn't Malaga have a spanking new Air Terminal? Will our spanking new Air Terminal be able to compete with Malaga's new Air Terminal, if indeed airlines seeking new routes are so persuaded by spanking new Air Terminals? I hope so, because, otherwise, Gibraltar is back where it started after having spent an inordinately large amount of public funds on a new Air Terminal and, to make matters worse taxpayers will be lumbered with enormously increased running costs without additional revenues.