Carnival funding, Airport taxes, Health service will improve, & other snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Eiryl … Looks like St. Catherine’s park, but I usually get it wrong.

Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 9/2/2009

For those who thought that the regional government funded the carnival celebrations through subsidies, you are only partially right. Often the president of the association that creates a ‘troupe’ has to dig deep in his own pockets, and the participants themselves have to chip in up to €75 in order to take part, as their share of the costs. Even so, openings to participate are hard to come by, with so many people wanting to be involved. One troupe called ‘Turma do Funil’ that is taking part uses mostly students, so is only charging €5. But a spokesman for that troupe said they have to pay costume makers, make up artists, carpenters, food, and transport etc., and the music alone (which they are recording themselves) will cost €1,500 just in studio hire. The chairman of another association that participants in the carnival parade, ‘Geringonça’, says that he had to charge €70 and people paid that freely, but he also has a waiting list of 20 that he doesn’t currently have room for.

In the main story of the day, it is reported that Madeira airport charges between €2 and €13 more per passenger than the majority of European airports. Talk about ANAM (who operate Madeira & Porto Santo airports) cutting the taxes to harmonise with national rates is popular, but it is not that straightforward to do. Nobody doubts that Madeira airport is very expensive, possibly the most expensive in Europe, and certainly double the price charged in Spain. Harmonising rates would involve a loss of revenue to ANAM of €9.6 million a year, cutting deeply into it’s annual profits of €15 million.  It’s 2.4 million passengers cost on average €24.70 each to handle, but it charges €27.70 per passenger, and argues that it does not have the economies of scale with airports that handle 10,20, or more times the levels of passenger traffic that Madeira does. €4.70 per passenger also goes toward ‘debt servicing’, that goes to repay the €550 million ANAM had to raise to expand the airport, without any assistance from the regional government or the republic, although European incentives were obtained. Under it’s current 40 year operating contract, it has until 2033 to repay it’s debts. How did ANAM persuade banks to lend it €550 million when it’s operating returns are so low? Over 40 years of it’s contract you would be looking at a  business plan generating income of €14 million a year just to repay the capital, forget the interest.

Two pre-election surveys carried out by the socialist party of Madeira (PS-M) are indicating that the social democrats (PSD-M) will win the national legislative voting on Madeira by five to one deputies … a complete humiliation for the PS-M after they and the PSD-M had 3 deputies each in 2005. That last survey was 6 months ago, and another one is being compiled. The likelihood of any change of government in the republic is small, regardless of how voting goes here, but it just goes to show the louder and more abusive President Bertie gets with the state government, it does not impact on his popularity. 

The other front page articles were a profile on a small neighbourhood in São Roque, and coverage of the weekend soccer games.

Other News :

‘The worst has already passed’. The health service of the region has been through a tough time, but the situation is improving says the chairman of the board, but reiterates “we need people not to abandon ship at this difficult time”. He blames a bad December and January on rising numbers of flu patients, changes in administration and staffing, and the new computerised triage and security system. But the flu season has just about ended, and the computerised system should be ready and ‘normalised’ within a week. Abandon ship! It’s not as if we are spoilt for choices!

After criticisms about the pricing of the Portuguese airline TAP, the chairman recently was asked to attend the legislative assembly to answer questions on the matter. He blamed high airport taxes for TAPs high prices, but analysis has now shown that to be a lie. Up until last month TAP had stung passengers with a surcharge of €94.63, which it has now reduced to €44. This is made up of €5 – 10 booking / ticketing fee, €8 fuel surcharge, and €18.10 paid to ANAM, the airport operators, and a take-off landing fee of €9.60. Since liberalisation of the airways and the entry of Easyjet into the TAP market, the average price for a return ticket Madeira to Lisbon has reduced by 56.6%, and has forced TAP to reduce it’s fares by 47.3% and it’s surcharges by 53.6%. These surcharges are still being used to con people it seems, as why would a booking fee or ticketing fee be a surcharge, they should be included in the price or discounted for online bookings.

‘Madeira wine inspires perfumes´… I just had to look at that article, but was disappointed to find out it is just the bottle and label that are being copied, and nothing to do with the contents. ‘Eau de Toilette 1990’ and ‘Parfum 1419’ are two fragrances for men that will be launched today at €29.95 a 100ml bottle. If any men are interested I can also supply authentic ‘perfumes’ in a Madeira wine bottle, but these will be 70cl bottles and will be a fraction of the cost mentioned above, and after consumption (internal or external) you will be guaranteed to smell like a real man, with the extra abilities to fend off women and attract mosquitoes effortlessly.

In national news a study has concluded that road accidents are the main cause of death for you people, and that further restrictions on the sale of alcohol will reduce this statistic. Under new measures ‘new drivers’ will be subject to new laws for drinking and driving, whilst the minimum age nationally to buy alcohol will be increased to 18 (16 currently). The measure is being welcomed by various health and safety groups, who say stopping people drinking until they are older reduces the risk of excessive drinking later in life. The measure is certainly not being welcomed by 16 and 17 year olds who have waited much of their lives for the opportunity to legally consume alcohol, and by bar owners who will have another chunk knocked off their already declining trade.

A very thin newspaper yesterday … glad I didn’t buy it.

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6 thoughts on “Carnival funding, Airport taxes, Health service will improve, & other snippets”

  1. I don't know what has happened to our normal good weather over here in the west but it was beautiful in Funchal again this morning but very dull and cool over this way.

  2. been lovely over in the east today, it seems the west is suffering the from the bad weather , and it gets to about Funchal and goes out to sea, youll have the sunshine back soon darling i promise…

  3. Don't know what is going on tonight at the police station here in Funchal. Lots of activity, flashing blue lights on the cars (parked at the police station!!), people running about and announcements over the tannoy (not clear enough to understand!!)

  4. Not only surprising that they got the money to borrow for the airport expansion, given the losses they were making until recently, but also amazing that they were lent money to build an airport capable of handling jumbos bringing 3200 passengers per hour (yes, per hour!!). When has Madeira ever seen that sort of number of passengers? What would the island be like if it did? How would passport control manage, given that they can't process 150 passengers quickly?


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