Tips and Topics In Spain


August 2009 Shortage of Car hire vehicles in Spain

Simon Calder The Independent’s travel writer reported in the 8th August that there is a shortgage in Spain this summer. He told the story of a Mr Carl Whitaker who had booked “a pay on arrival” car with “” and was contacted a couple of days before he was due to arrive in Palma Airport in Mallorca that no vehicle was available ...More on this here at the Car Hire Excess Insurance Blog site.

July 2009 — Ryanair upsets Spanish Royal family with “fly like a monarch campaign”

Low cost Irish carrier Ryanair has made the news once again according to the summer edition of “Living Spain” magazine. First of the Spanish Royal family were recently upset when they used pictures of Queen Sofia in an advertising campaign for travellers “to fly like a\monarch”. The company who will often bring politicians into their ads featured this after Queen Sofia flew from Santander to London to visit her brother Constantine who was recovering from heart surgery. Monarch Airlines themselves are a competitor of Ryanair on some of its route including Spain.

June 2009 Buy property safely in Spain

A new scheme has recently been launched to protect buyers of Spanish properties. The international home accreditation scheme Safe buying Experience (SBE) and the first developer to adopt the scheme Taylor Woodrow de España are working to ensure British Buyers of Spanish homes don't fall foul of poor quality workmanship or illegal builds.

SBE was established as an English company in 2007 to provide safsecure and efficient process for buying properties abroad. The founders come from a,long and distinguished background of law, management and financial services and work to ensure that homes abroad have been built legally, in accordance with panning rules and regulations and that they are not burdened with a poor or unenforcable contract after handing over a reservation deposit.

Developers and their homes that have obtained the SBE award have been through a robust quality control and a stringent legal checking process.

Even if a deveopment becomes insolvent, the individual may have lost their dream property, but the funds invested are guarantted and returnable to the customer, thanks to the accreditation the development has taken out with SBE. Source: Libing Spain

January 2009 Spain officially in recession

According to the BBC website, the Spanish economy is in recession for the first time since 1993. Figures from the Spanish Central Bank show that GDP fell 1.1% in the final quarter of 2008 and a further fall of 1.6% is forecast for 2009. The country's reliance on construction means that it has also suffered from the collapse of the real estate bubble. Mortgage lending was down a massive 51% in November, marking the biggest fall in 10 straight months of decline.

November 2008 Galicia on Spain's northern Atlantic coast is finally opening up

According to an article in the November/December 2008 edition of "Living Spain" magazine this area is now becoiming much more popular. The magazine says that the region has wild and spectacular scenery with the coastline deeply cut by distintive estyaries ( rias) and inland it is lush and wooded due to the large amount of rainfall.

Galicia is split into four separate provinces: La Coruna (lies to the north), Pontevedra (to the west), Lugo (to the east) and Orense (to the south). It is described as having white sand ybeaches, fabulous food and wine, historic cities and charming rural and coastal towns and villages.

The main attraction is the old city of Santiago de Compostela which is the third holiest site in Christendom after Jerusalem and Rome. The other major city is La Coruña which has air connections via Clickair and Ryanair.

The area has some of the most unspoilt and desserted beaches in the country, the only drawbacks being the colder water of the Atlantic and dangerous currents. Motorways are making the more remote areas more accessible and property prices are very realistic with some available for restoration for under €30,000

October 2008 The 56th San Sebatián film festival sees success for the UK

The festival held in in September awarded Britain's Michael Winterbottom the Best Director for the drama Genova. This stars Colin Firth as a high flying academic. The film follows his move to Italy with his two teenage daughters. The Turkish film Pandoranin Kotusu — Pandora's Box won the top award — The Golden Shell and Iranian Director Samira Makhmalbaf's film "Two Legged Horse" won the festival jury's special prize.

July 2008 Spain’s leading construction firm collapses

Spain’s property market crash has claimed its largest victim so far. One of the countries biggest developers, Martinsa Fadesa, has declared itself insolvent. The end of Martinsa Fadesa has been attributed to an oversupply of properties and rising borrowing costs. The group has been unable to refinance its debt and will now begin selling its assets to pay off creditors. Shares in the Spanish property sector dropped sharply in response to the news on fears that the country’s other developers are now at risk. According to APCE, the association of Spanish property developers, house prices have fallen by 15% since September of last year. In some regions over 50% of the new homes built in the past three years are unoccupied.

July 2008 Spanish government aims to increase low season tourism The Spanish Government aims to increase low season tourism by up to twelve per cent and the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Commerce — Miguel Sebastián announced a project "Hibern Spain" which would offer package holidays to Spain during the low season from between three to six months. These would be aimed at retured European citizens.The Minister Miguel Sebastián stated that the Government wants to help tourism evolve and move away from being divided into high and low seasons. There is a potential market of 100 million European citizens aged between 55 and 75 year old he said.

In 2007 tourism accounted for 12 per cent of all employment and contributed to around 11 per cent of Spain’s gross domestic product. Spain will be opening its thirty third Tourism Office with one in Bombay, India with further offices to be opened in Seoul, Sydney, Prague and Budapest. Miguel Sebastián has also mentioned the “Tourism Plan 2020” which was passed by Parliament in November 2007 and it is aimed at consolidating Spain’s position as a leading tourist destination.

June 2008: Spain is eurozone bargain for motoring holidays in Europe — Spain is best value in Europe for diesel fuel and motoring in a hire car — Post Office Report - More information here April 2008 Nine women in new Spanish Government

Spain is leading as an European country that has a Government in which more women than men hold positions of power. The new Spanish cabinet sworn in by the Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has only eigh men. Carme Chacon aged 37 is the first female Defence Minister. Under the Franco era no woman could open a bank account, apply for a passport or sign a contract without their husband's permission. Women were only allowed to join the army 20 years ago and now make up a fifth of the Spanish armed forces.

The youngest member of the new cabinet is Bibiana Aido age 31 who is the Equality Minister. Commenting on the new Cabinet, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said" I am a feminist. The more equality women have, the more civilised and tolerant society will be".

April 2008 Monarch Airlines celebrates 40 years in business

The longest established airline brand Monarch that is still trading under the same name in the UK celebrated its 40th anniversary in April with a special flight from London Luton tp Menorca. It was established in 1968 when a collaboration between Airline Engineering (now Monarch Aircraft Engineering Ltd) and Cosmos launched Monarch Airlines. Their first flight was to Spain. The flight was OM118 between London Luton and Madrid on the 5th April 1968. The celebratory flight was done in style with a touch of the 1960s- The cabin crew were dressed in replicas of the original yellow uniform and the passengers were given champagne and birthday cake on board. Since the airline was established it has carried over 104 million passengers.

April 2008 Tax rebate for investors in Spanish property

Investors who have made capital gains when selling Spanish properties could be in line for a 20% tax rebate. Spain changed its capital gains tax lergislation in 2007 prior to which foreigners who sold property in the country were charged 35% on any capital gain. Spanish nationals onlt paid 15%. According to a firm of Spanish lawyers the punitive rate for foreign investors was in contravention of the European Community Treaty. The currency specialist HiFX says that a conservative estimate regarding British investors who sold homes in Spain are each due £8,300 in overpaid capital gains tax. Spanish authorities will only be liable for claims that are made within four years of a sale.

March 2008 Elephants have married in Benidorm

Petita la fea and her boyfriend Luka have married at Benidorm’s Terra Natura. The ceremony was conducted by Father René Figueroa who blessed the happy couple. The ceremony was watched by 100 guests.

March 2008 Costa Daurada base for Ryanair

Ryanair has announced its fifth Spanish base in Reus on the Costa Daurada. It will be the low cost airline’s 26th European base. Ryanair will invest in two new aircraft and 12 routes that will create 1,000 jobs and over one million passengers over the year for the city of Tarragona.

March 2008 High Speed train is up and running

The Madrid to Málaga high speed train service started in December 2007. It covers the distance between the two cities in two and a half hours. There are 11 services a day. In its first month of service it carried 100,000 passengers.

March 2008 Mediterranean building ban

Environment ministers of 14 countries have agreed in principle to ban the construction of commercial and residential developments within 100 metres of the Mediterranean coastline. The new Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) was ratified in Almería by the ministers.

The convention has agreed that along the 29,000 mile shoreline of the Mediterranean that no construction would be permitted within 100 metres of the coast in an effort to help protect the coastline from the damage caused by development and human contact.

Christina Narbona Spain’s minister for the environment and José Fernández Pérez, Spain’s environment ministry Director of coastal areas told a press conference that Albania, Algeria, Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Syria and Tunisia have all ratified the Barcelona Convention and that Bosnia, Cyprus, Egypt Lebanon, Libya and Turkey have not at this stage, however they are believed to be signing the agreement later in 2008.

January 2008 Viva Estates, Costa del Sol, Spain closes all but one of its offices

One of the largest estate agents in the Costa del Sol has only one office in operation.This is as a result in Spain's downturn in the real estate sector. The agents have now closed 13 offices and is now operating soley from the Marbella one. A large proportion of it's business comes from British, German and Irish clients. The market has changed dramatically in Spain and at one time house prices rose 150 per cent in ten years. It is a different story now with construction stopped on many building sites. The property market has also caused many Spanish families to be in the negative equity situation.

January 2008 British and Irish citizens now own 3.81 million properties overseas

The figure does not include timeshares. The research agency Datamonitor has found that 1.21 million properties are owned by permanent Irish or UK residents. There is £44 billion on the overseas property market in 2006 and the research says that growth will be over 13% between 2008 and 2012. The main countries people still choose are France, Spain and the USA.

January 2008 Banco Halifax Hispania opens new branch in Ibiza

Banco Halifax Hispania has opened a new branch in San Antonio, one of Ibiza's most popular resorts for British tourists. The team of English and Spanish speaking colleagues based in San Antonio will provide British and Irish expatriates with help and guidance on all aspects of buying a second home in Spain. Banco Halifax Hispania offers competitive mortagages to customers, including Spanish nationals, as well as providing comprehensive personal banking services. Banco Halifax Hispania was established in 1993 and offers a full telephone banking service. It has branches in Madrid, Barcelona, Málaga, Sevilla, Marbella, Fuengirola, Benalmádena, Torrevieja, Denia, Torrox, Los Alcázares, Calpe, Playa Flamenca, Mallorca, Guardamar, Sotogrande, Guadalmina, Mazarrón, Puerto Pollenca, Calahonda, Menorca, Fuerteventura, Tenerife and Ibiza

November 2007 Further expansion for Easyjet as they agree to acquire GB Airways Limited

easyJet has announced that it has agreed to acquire the entire issued share capital of GB Airways Ltd excluding its slots at Heathrow Airport, from the Bland Group Limited, for a cash consideration of £103.5 million.

GB Airways is primarily a London Gatwick based point-to-point airline operating to destinations across Southern Europe and North Africa under a franchise agreement with British Airways PLC. It serves 31 destinations and operates 15 Airbus aircraft (9 A320s and 6 A321s) with an average age of 4.1 years, which are complementary to the easyJet fleet of 107 A319s. In total it operates 39 routes – 28 from Gatwick, 6 from Manchester, 5 from Heathrow.

Following the acquisition, easyJet will operate 24% of Gatwick’s slots and will fly approximately 8 million passengers across 62 routes from Gatwick. By Winter 2008/09, GB Airways will be fully consolidated into the easyJet business model. GB Airways will continue to operate all routes under the British Airways brand until March 29th, 2008 after which flights will operate under the easyJet brand.

October 2007 Concerns over plans to build a railway tunnel under Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

The AVE — High speed train between Madrid and the French border at Perpignan could have construction problems. The link between Madrid and Barcelona is almost completed and will come into service before the end of 2007.This will reduce the 659 km journey to less than four hours. The problem is the construction of the Barcelona — Perpignan section. This will take at least five years to complete and there is the problem of tunelling under the Sagrad Familia. A twelve metre diameter tunnel has to be dug out and part of it will run under Sagrada Familia. ( see Barcelona Fact File) . The committee of the Sagrada Familia have a team of experts who have warned that the building could be damaged by tunnelling and have brought an injunction to force the railway construction company to halt the work. The President of the committee Joan Rigol has warned that part of the planned tunnel will only be 75cm below a supporting wall and 1.75cm from the foundations. The building weighs a lot and that is problem according to architect Jordi Bonet. .

September 2007 Spanish Government unveils subsidy scheme for young renters

In a joint presentation at the Moncloa Palace, president Zapatero and his new Housing minister, Carme Chacón, unveiled two new measures designed to help the young and low earners afford rented accommodation.The first consists of tax relief for tenants of all ages while the second is a direct rental accommodation subsidy of €210 euros a month for the estimated 80% of 22-30 year olds in full-time employment who earn less than €22,000 euros per annum. The scheme also involves providing loans of €600 euros to cover the cost of initial deposits demanded by landlords. The government intends for these measures to be implemented by the start of next year

September 2007 Barcelona cheaper than Blackpool

According to a report in the September edition of "Living Spain" magazine, a recent reoprt from the National Consumer Council showed a holiday in Barcelona complete with air travel costs the same as one in Blackpool. One week in Barcelona costs £518 (flying from London) and £554 for a return train trip staying in Blackpool. Ryanair charged £99.95 from London Stanstead and the train fare to Blackpool (return) was £63.90. The accommodation in Barcelona was £418 for seven nights in a three star hotel and £490 in Blackpool.

September 2007 Spanish home on market for £20 million

Casa Vicens a four storey house in the Gràcia district of Barcelona and the first house built by artitect and artist Gaudí and the only privately owned Gaudí house in the world is on the market. British agents are marketing for the family that has owned it for more than 100 years. It has 12 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and full of bright colours like much of Gaudí's work.

September 2007 Halifax reports that house prices in Spain rose by 14 per cent in 2006

House prices have risen by 18 per cent in Belgium, the highest rise in Europe in 2006 according to the Halifax. In France they reported by 15 per cent and 14 per cent in Spain. Over the last five years Spain had led the way with a 100 per cent increase, with UK at 90 per cent, France 73 per cent and Ireland 71 per cent.

May 2007 Research has found that London residential property is the most expensive in the world — It has now overtaken Monaco — Madrid is 16th place

A report by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank has revealed that London has the most expensive residential properties in the world. The average cost in prime central London is £2,300 per square foot. More

April 2007 Suspension bridge over the Bay of Cádiz — biggest bridge in Europe underway

The construction of a second suspension bridge over the Bay of Cádiz started in April 2007. The €300 million project should be completed by September 2010. It has been named "Puente de la Pepá". It is 69 metres high and will be the highest bridge in Europe.

. April 2007 Second Ikea announced for Andaluciá

Ikea has announced that a new store will open before the end of 2007 at Málaga. It will create around 500 jobs and the access road construction to the store from the Torremonlis to Málaga motorway has been awarded to a local company — Sando. The contruction budget for this new Málaga store is €65 million. The first Ikea store in Andaluciá is located at Sevilla.

April 2007 is pleased to announce that it has launched a car rental Excess comparative site

The site shows the Excess amounts charged by the major car rental companies, as well as the daily rates they charge to reduce the Excess.

The information was compiled during April 2007 by Insurance4carhire staff calling each car rental company's airport location at the international airport in the capital city of each country – more than 180 locations in total — and the costs are based on the daily cost of excess for a compact size car.

The survey was conducted in more than 30 countries across Europe, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, USA and Canada. The car rental companies surveyed are: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and National More information

April 2007 Murcia declassifies protected coastline

The largest purpose built tourist resort in Europe is to be constructed on unspoilt coastline in Murcia, Spain. The regions ruling Partido Populaqr party have declassified 11,000 hectacres of once protected virin coastline to accommodate plans for a huge project with 60,000 homes being built. There will also be five golf courses 22,000 hotel beds built in the Cabo de Cope-Puntas de Calnegre Regional Park that is close to the border with neighbouring Andaluciá. Central Government environmentalists and lconcerned local residents are appealing to the courts to stop work on this development. The Government of Murcia has been studying plans to declassify the land since 2001. The exact scale of this declassification is not known yet, however experts from Murcia University claim that as much as 14,000 hectacters of wild coastline is set to be lost.

April 2007 Savills Estate Agents list the league table of where the British buy overeas

Research among existing future buyers overseas have found that in Spain is top of the league table for British owned property overseas, followed by France, Portugal in 4th place and Morocco in eighth place after Cyprus.A recent survey for NastWest Bank also revealed that Spain still ranks top as a second home destination. Meanwhile shares in in construction companies plunged towards the April amid fears of a property crash. Advisors are saying that as long the property is in a good location it shouls still let out ok, although there might be an over supply and if an investor wants a quick return this is not the right time

April 2007 Spain see strongest growth since 1978

2006 saw Spain experiencing the best level of growth since 1978 when democracy was restored. Jose Luis Zapatero ,the Prime Minister told the Spanish Stock Exchange that the economy is expected to grow more than 3.5 percent in 2007 and 2006 was the best year for expansion since the death of General Francisco Franco. It is now the world's eighth strongest economy

March 2007 Development ban on the Costa Blanca

The Council in Jávea has won a case to prevent the town from overbuilding. This will block construction on 30 million square metres of land and has successfully brought two huge developments to a halt. The Council says this will stop excessive building and maintain Jávea’s environment and image. In November 2005 the new ruling coalition decided to stop massive and unsustainable development and ordered growth with construction of just four to six villas per hectare. These two developments would have added a further 3,500 new houses.

March 2007 National Average Property prices in Spain

The national average property price is €241,000 – this is a drop of €4,000 from January 2007. This represents a 1.6% decline. However average property prices in Barcelona, Cádiz and Málaga have increased whereas they continue to fall in Girona. Málaga province is the most popular province.

March 2007 Taxes on Empty property

The Murcia Regional Government has announced that it has no plans to apply a new tax on empty homes. This tax has been proposed by the autonomous governments of the Basque Country and Catalunya. The Regional Government of Catalunya has recently proposed an annual tax in excess of €3,000 on empty homes. The reason behind this has been to encourage residential rentals.

March 2007 Spain is now the eighth wealthiest country worldwide

According to the World Bank Spain is now 8 in the league of wealthy countries and has overtaken Canada. The top eight is as follows. 1) United States, 2) Japan, 3) Germany, 4) China, 5) United Kingdom, 6) France, 7) Italy, 8) Spain. Meanwhile the retail price index in Spain fell to its lowest point in nearly three years according to figures published in February 2007 by Instituto Nacional de Estadistica (Spain’s National Institute of Statistics). It has the lowest inflation since March 2004.

March 2007 New low cost Spanish Airline takes off

Clickair is the first low cost airline to fly out of London Heathrow airport. Spanish owned Clickair has begun to fly to Seville and Valencia. They offer low fares and the flexibility to change departures without heavy penalties. They also offer fast track boarding. There are currently some 16 million Britons going to Spain each year and the airline is confident of providing great value flexibility for tourists and business passengers. It is one of Europe’s fastest growing airlines and by mid 2008 expects to have a fleet of 30 Airbus A320’s operating on 70 routes. There will be four new routes in the spring of 2007 with flights from Dublin, Ireland to Barcelona. Meanwhile Ryanair the Irish low cost airline has announced two new routes from the Liverpool John Lennon Airport. From March & April 2007 they will be adding Palma and Alicante. They have also announced that it is set to go into competition with easyJet and ThomsonFly with a daily flight from London Stanstead airport to Alicante, Spain on March 25th and from Dublin, Ireland to Alicante in May 2007. The airline that is Europe’s largest now operates 454 routes from 130 airports across Europe.

March 2007 Dialling codes change for Gibraltar as Spain recognises Gibraltar’s dialling code.

Dialling codes between Spain and Gibraltar changed in February 2007 as part of the Córdoba Agreement. This agreement has come into effect to allow planes to fly over Spain into Gibraltar, Iberia planes to fly between Gibraltar and Madrid and easy border controls and allowing passengers to fly to Gibraltar and transfer directly into Spain without technically going into Gibraltar. Telephone calls to Gibraltar from Spain no longer use the 9567 prefix, but the international 00 350 followed by the local Gibraltar number. From Gibraltar to Spain the caller now has dial Spain 00 34 plus Spanish number on the international network.

March 2007 Tunnel to be built under the Strait of Gibraltar to link Africa and Europe

Spain and Morocco are planning a joint effort to link their countries by an undersea train tunnel, The governments of these two countries have taken a further step towards the building of a rail tunnel that will connect Europe and Africa, in what will be a historic technological feat. The tunnel will be made up of two rail tunnels and one service tunnel in the middle connecting the two, similar to the Channel Tunnel running between Britain and France. This will mean that in several years time a traveler could make a journey by train from the north of Scotland into Africa.

The Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he was committed to the project, though he demanded some financial assistance from the European Union. The Moroccan Premier Driss Jettou called the tunnel initiative "an important milestone" in relations between the two countries. The Spanish Minister of Development Francisco Alvarez Cascos was quoted in Arabic as stating that this tunnel will be “in the 21st century what the Suez Canal was in the 19th century and what the Panama Canal was in the 20th century.”

February 2007 Spanish properties selling well to foreigners

The Spanish Ministry of Housing have announced figures showing that foreigners bought 28,404 properties in the second quarter of 2006. This equivalent to 11.7% of all Spanish properties sold in that period. Sales to foreign residents were up by 5.7% on the previous quarter. The top ten regions are: 1) Valencian Community, 2) Catalunya, 3) Madrid, 4) Andaluciá , 5) Murcia, 6) The Canaries, 7) The Balearics, 8) Castile La Manche, 9) Aragón, 10) Castile and Leon.

February 2007 Costal Authority in Málaga to demolish illegal buildings

The Málaga Coastal Authority has announced that it will start the demolition of buildings built illegally along the sea front in the next couple of months. Most of the buildings date from the 1950’s and 1960’s and include buildings beach bars, a pumping station and gardens. Juan Carlos Fernández-Raňada the Chief of the Costal Authority said “they want to reclaim land that has been built upon with 50 properties earmarked for demolition.

February 2007 Valencia Tourism Council to cut down on illegal rentals

The Council has announced a crackdown on apartment owners who rent out apartments illegally. In November 2006 measures were introduced whereby apartment owners who had not gone through the correct registration procedures would be fined. Fines can be up to €90,000.

December 2006 New rules for travelling to Gibraltar from December 2006

Travellers on a flight from Madrid to Gibraltar in December had a choice of country of arrival when they landed at Gibraltar. They could either enter Gibraltar or board a special bus that would take them across the border town of La Linea. The Spaniards had imposed laws since 1987 with flight rules making it difficult for planes to cross mainland Spain en-route to and from Gibraltar. Earlier in 2006 the Córdoba Accord was signed by the governments of Britain, Gibraltar and Spain that have eased these rules. This means that scheduled flights from London Gatwick and Luton can now cross Spain to Gibraltar and GB Airways can fly daily from Gibraltar to Spain

December 2006 Rising Spiral of Spanish property prices has burnt out

This ia ccording to the Director of the Economic affairs in the office of the President Miguel Sebastián. He also says Spanish property inflation will soon hit zero. He was speaking at the presentation of a new report entitled "Immigration and the Spanish Economy 1996-2006." He claimed that Spanish property inflation which appears to be falling gradually is developing "reasonably well". Immigrants are an important new source of demand of housing in Spain and already buy 25% of all properties and are taking 20% of mortgages. Although the market is still healthy and should be for many years to come, properties are currently taking three months longer to sell than last year.

meanwhile.....Britons are set to save thouands of pounds £s

Britons who live or work temporarily in Spain are to save thousands of pounds following cuts to Spanish capital gains tax says Banco Halifax Hispania (The Spanish bank of HBOS). From the 1st January 2007 the capital gains on property sales and personal income for non-residents in Spain will drop from 35% to 18%. The European Court upheld a complaint that it was unfair for the tax to be charged at 35% for non-residents and 18% for Spanish residents. There are now 800,000 Britons who own a second home abroad and Spain is the most popular location amongst more than four in ten respondents to a research study by Mintel.

December 2006 — Air Madrid Líneas Aéreas S.A.suspends all flights and leaves thousands of passengers standed

Low-cost Spanish carrier Air Madrid Líneas Aéreas S.A.s an airline based in Madrid in Spain operating services to South and Central America and Romania hast suspended its operations on December 15, 2006, leaving more than 100,000 passengers stranded in Latin America and Spain. It was established in 2003 and was a cheap way of travelling to South America by Europeans who would fly to and from Madrid to connect to the airline.

Air Madrid said in a statement that it was giving a list of ticket-holders to the civil aviation authority, which falls under the Development Ministry, for it to “adopt whatever measures it might deem appropriate to compensate them for the damage its conduct has caused.”The statement said the company was suspending operations. It made no mention of going out of business altogether, but said nothing either about when it might start flying again.

September 2006 — New homes planned for MarMenor, Murcia Spain

200,000 new properties are planned for the MarMenor area of Murcia to add to the 60,000 presently under construction. There are currently 70,000 already built there.As many as thirty three resorts have been approved by the Murcia Government in south east Spain.

September 2006 — Foreigners numbers increase in property purchasing in Spain

31,342 foreigners purchased property in Spain during the first quarter of 2006. This represnted 13.4% of all property sales during this period. These figures are released by the Spanish Government. The Valencian region where foreigners purchased 8,879 properties during the first quarter proved the most popular region, followed by Catalonia, Andalusia, Madrid, Murcia, The Canaries, The Balearics, Castilla La Mancha, Aragon and Castilla Y León.

August 2006 — Ryanair has recently announced their biggest ever expansion at Dublin.

There is a significant expansion from Ireland's largest airline. From December 2006 Rynair will three new aircraft in Dublin Airport and create over 200 jobs and start services on routes from Dublin to points all over Europe. The new schedule of routes to Spain includes Madrid, Vitoria in the Basque region, Seville and Almerria. The CEO of Ryanair Michael O'Leary said "Move over Aer Lingus! Rynair is now Ireland's national airline and Aer Lingus is just a distant number2....." Meanwhile — Ryanair to offer inflight mobile phone calls.

The airline has anounced that it will be the first European airline to allow passengers to use their mobile with a specialist communication system Mobile OnAir by mid 2007 and the remainder of the fleet by 2008. It usses light weight technology via a satellite to a testestrial phone network run by Monaco Telecom. The call rates start at 1.78 /£1.20 per minute. The system has an airborne transmitter with a lightweight GSM pico-cell network located on the aircraft itself and a mobile would go directly to this opposed to going to a normal transmitter mast.

May 2006 — Great Month for Spanish Sport

On Sunday 14th May Fernando Alonso the 2005 Formula One Motor Racing Champion won the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona and there was even more celebration when on Wednesday 17th, Barcelona's football team beat Arsenal (London -England) 2 — in Paris at the Stade de France in the UEFA European Champions League. Both events were watched by King Juan Carlos and at Barcelona he presented Fernando Alonso the winners trophy.

May 2006 - There are still many investors buying in Spain

Although countries like Bulgaria are becoming very popular with overseas investors, Spain still remains at the top of the list. This is according to a new survey by Foreign currency exchange specialist HIFX. Their researchshows that the country is favoured because a majority of British overesas property buyers see their purchase either as a holiday home or somewhere to retire to. It is close to Britain and Ireland and there are plenty of cheap flights and properties there can be easily rented out and generally plenty of sun.

May 2006 — Spanish authorities checking on Holiday Home lettings

Spanish authorities are no longer going to turn a blind eye to undeclared income from letting holiday home properties. A large number of British who have been letting out their properties have not informed the Spanish Tax authorities. A bill to catch those avoiding tax went before the Spanish Parliament this year. There are around half a million British who have second homes in Spain and the authorities have been searching rental agents' listings, scanning small ads and finding out who does what by talking to local business people.

There are two sets of annual taxes for non resident holiday home owners. 1: A wealth tax based on a property's value and levied on a sliding scale starting at 0.2 &. 2: Notional annual income tax that should be paid even if a property is not rented out, that is based on a percentage of rateable value.

If a property is rented out a further 25% on actual income should be paid which can be ofset against notional tax with income declared within 30 days of the rental period. If you are subject to UK taxes, you should declare it there as well.p>

March 2006 — jml Property Insurance can now offer Holiday home property insurance to many European countries.

jml property insurance has been acting as an agent introducing Landlord and Tenant insurance in the UK since 2002. As the company is heavily involved in self-catering holiday home rentals with, there have been numerous requests for property insurance for owner's holiday homes in mainland Europe as well as the UK. There are now more and more people buying holiday homes overseas and in the it makes sense to deal with a company that can provide a policy written in a language the owner can understand.

jmlcan now introduce owners in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden,Malta, Cyprus and the UK to a policy written in English and underwritten at Lloyds. The premiums are payable in £ sterling and the insurance is arranged via Andrew Copeland (Insurance Consultants) Ltd.

Andrew Copeland are based in London and are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the UK. This is very good news for the owner of that dream holiday home property who is not too fluent in French, Spanish or Portuguese who can now understand the full details of the policy in his or her native tongue.

Further details can be found by going to

January 2006 — Ryanair to offer online check-in and luggage fees.

Passengers travelling on the budget airline Ryanair are to be offered cheaper airfares and the option to check on in the Internet from March 16th 2006. They will also face charges of £5 / €7 for each item of luggage they check in. The company says that it could cut the number of airport queues for its flights by as much as half and will incentivise passengers to travel with only hand baggage.

Any bag that weighs more than 10kg will have to be checked in. There are also restrictions as to what can be carried on board. Ski boots will have to travel in the hold. Under the new system, any passenger travelling with hand luggage who has an EU passport will be able to check in at the company’s website up to three days before their flight.

Passengers will be asked to print up their own boarding card, complete with a pre-arranged barcode. Upon arrival at the airport they can go directly to the security check in, thus avoiding the check in desks. Passengers who also check in their luggage on line will be charged €3.50 for each bag on the flight and will still have to present their bags at the normal check in desks.

Ryanair has beaten easyJet in becoming the first no-frills airline to offer passengers the option of checking in on line and said it was something they were considering. Aer Lingus has confirmed that it also intends to introduce online check-in later this year, but has no plans to charge customers for each piece of luggage checked in.

January 2006 -Spain's Iberia to launch a budget airline

Spain's largest ailine Iberia is seeking backing from banks to launch a low cost airline within the next two years. This will be a rival to easyJet and Ryanair and will be based in Barcelona. easyJet and Ryanair both have large hubs in Barcelona.

There are are currently 50 different airlines in in Europe with new arrivals being Spain's Vueling and German's Air Berlin and Germanwings and Poland's Wizz Air.

In 2004 Veuling was started and it's main market is Spain and with a turnover of €115 million plans to go public in 2 years. The move by Iberia to lauch a low cost carrier comes a week after it announced to reduce 17 oer cent of domestic routes after the low cost competition was making it very difficult for them.

The Spanish newspaper Expansion has reported that Iberia wants to avoid following the same path as British Airways of taking on all the financial responsibily that it did when it launched Go (later sold to easyJet). Iberia's share of the Spanish market (it's biggest earner) fell 0.4 per cent to 15.6 per cent in 2005.

January 2006 King Juan Carlos alarmed by building on the southern coast

King Juan Carlos has sounded alarm over the excessive urbanisation of Spain's southern coast, especially the booming resort of La Manga in Murcia that is very popular amoongst British golfing holidaymakers and footballers. Speaking informally with a group of ecolgists, the Spanish Monarch said he had recently flown over the region and was "surprised and very worried" by the extent of building work.

The upmarket tourist development has sprouted a vast cityscape of cranes and scaffolding along the coast. This zone escaped exploitation because of its aridity.

The information provided here on the Tips and Topics in Spain page is given in good faith and should not be relied on for accuracy

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