Posted: 06.02.2006. updated 21.02.2006
Iberia to "cease" UK flights to Santiago de Compostela airport.
Iberia have decided to stop flying from Heathrow in England to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. They claim that they can no longer compete with Irish budget airline Ryan Air on price.
As a compensatory development, it appears that Iberia intend to open up a new route from A Coruna to London, but there are no firm details at present. It all sounds highly puzzling and even more surprising since the Iberia flights on this route have remained sold out. Perhaps they are hoping for some financial incentive from the Spanish, or pehaps Galician governments. More news on this to follow.
Update Iberia are flying in to la Coruna from February and are also making connections to Santiago (via Madrid). If you book with them be sure to check that the flight (even to A Coruna) is direct. Also Ryan air's "no frills" flying now extends to allowing you a baggage allowance of zero. All passengers are now charged per kilo on all hold luggage. The hand luggage quota remains unchanged.
Galicia’s war on Drugs
The BBC have reported that north western Galicia is the primary entry point for trafficking drugs (primarily cocaine) into mainland Spain. The current Spanish regime claim that an 80% reduction in drug levels has been achieved, but that there is still a major problem. Five metric tonnes of drugs arrive in Galicia via a sea bound route every week.
The reason for Galicia’s appeal to drug shippers is balanced between the coastlines rugged outline, with its many semi hidden bays and the relatively low population of these same areas.
Many speculate about the reasons for this region’s prolific drug trafficking problem, but low employment, having the dubious title of Spain’s most “backward” region and a “claimed” decline in fishing activity have all been cited as possible excuses.
Many of the bigger drugs networks have now been destroyed, or at least severely damaged, but towns such as Villagarcia still have a reputation for “drugs barons” and although not openly in evidence, the problems still remains.
Manuel Fraga falls from grace
The former president of the Galician Xunta (parliament), Manuel Fraga, slipped and fell whilst attending a lunch hosted by the less than popular Spanish president, Jose Luis Rodriguez.
This was Fraga’s second medical incident in two days as yesterday medics had to assist the 83 year old when he complained of dizziness during a meeting.
Fraga, originally a member of the Franco regime, refused treatment after the fall and said that everything was OK.
Last year Fraga’s party lost control of the parliament of Galicia, but despite his defeat and advancing years Fraga has no plans to retire.
Galician bagpiper reigns havoc on Celtic festival
A nineteen day Celtic folk festival of international importance held in Glasgow Scotland has had it first day’s schedule severely disrupted following the last minute cancellation of day one’s headline act Carlos Nunez.
The bagpiper, generally regarded as the best in Spain, withdrew at the eleventh hour knowing that the timing of his decision would cause the organisers the maximum possible disruption. His audience, many of whom would have been former residents of Spain, plus the large Spanish student population of the area, were left with similar disappointment.
Nunez’s decision follows the earlier “pull out” of the Catalan theatre company, la Fura del Baus, leading to the conclusion that both parties coordinated their moves together.
In the past Scottish pipers have visited Galicia frequently and taken part in competitions held in many parts of Spain, no doubt this act by Nunez will do nothing to encourage their continuance.