The businessmen propose a battery of measures to end “once and for all” the chaos in an infrastructure as decisive for the Island as the airport. Tenerife South, especially in the taxi service and passport controls. The Circle of Entrepreneurs and Professionals of the South of Tenerife (CEST) and the provincial hotel association (Ashotel), two groups with the highest representation in the southern municipalities, They require an agreement from the administrations and associations involvedthe application of the declaration of the airport as a sensitive area in 2012 – allowing taxis from other municipalities to pick up passengers in exceptional circumstances –, the creation of a figure that coordinates these transport vehicles and the reinforcement of passport control posts.
The CEST and the hoteliers launch these proposals to put an “urgent” end to a problem that “gives a very bad image to the Island”, “affects the main sector of the economy” and “gets worse” when the high autumn and winter tourist season arrives and the number of flights multiplies, as is happening at this time. The presidents of CEST and Ashotel, Javier Pérez and Jorge Marichal, detail that this chaos “is not new”, “it has gotten worse” and “it is beginning to be tiresome to see that solutions are not applied” in an airport, in addition, that ” AENA has not improved as it should” taking into account that it is the second with the most traffic Canary Islands and the seventh from Spain. In 2022 alone, 10.8 million passengers passed through Tenerife South.
Several videos and photos posted on social networks by users and tour operators in recent days show endless queues to take a taxi outside the airport, a total lack of control and queues also inside of tourists waiting to hand over their passport. “To the lack of actions by AENA to reform the airport,” says Javier Pérez, “are added the traffic jams on the Southern Highway and the lack of decision of the administrations when it comes to addressing the saturation peaks that occur.” on the days with the most flights, which exceed the means available for services as important as transportation.
The president of the Circle of Entrepreneurs and Professionals of the South of Tenerife believes that the current management system of the taxis at the Tenerife South airport cannot fall to a single town council – in this case that of Granadilla de Abona, the municipality in which the facility is located–, especially in high season and on days with more passenger movement. “We are talking about an international airport with maximum occupancy on which all tourism on an Island depends,” he says. Javier Pérez remembers that Granadilla currently has about 200 taxi licenses. On the other hand, the municipality of La Laguna has almost double that number (364) when its taxis have competition at an airport, Tenerife North, with half as many passengers per year as Tenerife South.
Pérez understands that the taxi drivers of Granadilla defend their interests and agrees that “they will not be harmed by the solution that is decided”, but he puts first “the general interest” of an entire island and the “need for there to be enough units.” to absorb the massive arrival of passengers in high season and on days with the most flights. Given this panorama, the highest representative of the CEST requests that “the confrontations be put aside” and “an agreement be reached” between all the administrations and groups involved –Tenerife Counciltown councils of Granadilla and the neighboring San Miguel de Abona, AENA, taxi drivers, businessmen and tour operators – so that “a solution is found” and it is clarified how the declaration of sensitive area in Tenerife South has to be applied.
On October 24, 2012, the Official Gazette of the Province (BOP) published the initial approval by the Tenerife Cabildo of the regulations for the declaration of the Tenerife South and Tenerife North airports and the ports of Santa Cruz de Tenerife as sensitive areas. and Los Cristianos, as well as the regulation of the collection of travelers, previously arranged, in the aforementioned areas. According to this regulation, “the Cabildo, after hearing the interested town councils, the associations representing the taxi transport sector and users, will establish the applicable regime in cases of temporary or occasional intensification of the demand for taxis motivated by the celebration of cultural, sporting, artistic, fair or similar events, when the authorized units in the municipality in which said circumstantial or temporary increase in demand occurs are insufficient. That is, the insular Corporation can order vehicles from other municipalities to operate at airports in circumstances of maximum demand.
The president of Ashotel regrets that this statement “has not translated, in any way, into solutions to the queues suffered by tourists and residents at the Tenerife South airport.” Jorge Marichal wonders if when the Cabildo assures that the declaration of a sensitive area allows action in the event that it is found that there is not enough capacity, “who declares this lack of capacity?” «When is the lack of capacity declared, when tourists have been in line for more than an hour? Do Granadilla taxi drivers declare it? Does the Cabildo declare it through whom?
The hotel association proposes a figure that acts as coordinator of the flow of taxis and that authorizes the entry of units from other municipalities when the number of people waiting in line is greater than 30. It also proposes that taxis that are not from Granadilla can operate in the time slots with the highest concentration of flights on the busiest days or when the number of operating licenses in Granadilla drops below a certain number due to sick leave or vacation of their holders.