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Govt ‘jumped the gun’ with Bilbao air link

The Gibraltar Government “jumped the gun” in announcing a new air service to Bilbao, the GSD said yesterday, adding Tourism Minister Vijay Daryanani “had failed to do his homework” and check that the airline had all the necessary permissions in place to operate the route.

The GSD said Volotea, the airline behind the route, had confirmed that the licence to operate Gibraltar was not certain to be granted and that this delivered “a further heavy blow” to the government and Mr Daryanani’s credibility, “no matter what Mr Picardo tries to do to cover up the minister’s failings.”

The GSD cited reports that the airline may not even have commenced the licensing process at the time it put tickets on sale for the service, which was due to commence in July. The sale of those tickets was withdrawn at the weekend.

“Mr Daryanani failed to ask the fundamental question whether the airline had the necessary licence to fly to Gibraltar, before making the announcement,” the GSD said.

“The GSD continues to hope that the flights on the Gibraltar - Bilbao route will soon become a reality, but it was proper for the GSD to have exposed this when it did and question the Minister’s actions and thereby avoid the public from being misled.”

The shadow Minister for Tourism, Mr Damon Bossino, added: “Despite the vitriol and wholly irrelevant personal attacks against me, Mr Daryanani cannot hide from his fundamental error of announcing the new route before the required licenses had been obtained.”

“This is a crucial failure, which he should acknowledge with humility and not behave like a wounded animal.”

“Instead of accepting the error of his ways Mr Daryanani launches ‘under the belt’ personal attacks in an effort to deflect attention from his blundered handling of this announcement.”

“When someone does that, you know he has definitely lost the argument, as he did with his proposed fiasco of the planning of the pedestrianisation of Line Wall Road.”

“Mr Daryanani should be more circumspect about his public pronouncements and act in a way more appropriate to the public office that he currently holds.”

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