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Flooding at Mallorca airport forces flights to be re-routed

Simon Calder’s Travel

Tourists on a popular holiday island were left stranded after a freak storm.

Water cascaded from the ceiling and planes were grounded on flooded runways at the airport of Palma, the capital of the Spanish island of Mallorca, as heavy rains swept over the popular tourist destination on Tuesday.

The storm brought all activity to a halt at Son Sant Joan airport, Spain’s third-biggest, due to the “impossibility of operating safely”, operator Aena said in a statement.

The airport activated its emergency plan and flights to Mallorca were temporarily re-routed to alternative airports, Transport Minister Oscar Puente said.

Puente later said on social messaging platform X that the airport was resuming operations as the rain subsided.

National weather agency AEMET said its station at the airport recorded rainfall of nearly 5 centimetres (2 inches) per hour, with peaks of up to 9 cm in less than an hour.

Vehicles parked in a flooded car park after heavy rains, at Palma de Mallorca airport, in Palma de Mallorca
Vehicles parked in a flooded car park after heavy rains, at Palma de Mallorca airport, in Palma de Mallorca (Carmen Estaban via REUTERS)

Videos posted on X appeared to show water streaming from the ceiling of the airport’s shopping area, travellers in summer clothes drenched by water leaking through the windows and seeping out of buckets placed underneath. Others featured cars struggling to traverse a flooded parking lot.

Passenger traffic at Palma de Mallorca airport last year reached 31.1 million, an all-time record. The Mediterranean island, known for its picturesque beaches and sunny weather, is one of Europe’s most visited destinations, especially popular with German and British tourists.

Meanwhile a leading hotelier in Mallorca has admitted he is worried about the impact that protests against mass tourism are having on the economy.

Javier Vich, who is the president of the Palma Hoteliers Association and CEO of the Summum Hotel Group, fears that fewer travellers will book holidays to the Balearic Island after reading reports of the protests on Palma’s streets and beaches.

One of the large-scale demonstrations saw almost 10,000 people parade through the streets of Mallorca’s capital at the end of May, carrying posters that read “SOS Residents” and “Enough Mass Tourism” – and this type of incident could affect where tourists’ decide to go on holiday, believes Mr Vich.

He says that he would not go to a destination where he did…

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