Taking ten planes a week: the price you have to pay for insularity

The schedule of Carla Andrade, a young teacher from Palma (Mallorca), is the same as that of many of her classmates.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
30 March 2024 Saturday 10:25
6 Reads
Taking ten planes a week: the price you have to pay for insularity

The schedule of Carla Andrade, a young teacher from Palma (Mallorca), is the same as that of many of her classmates. Every day he gets up at 5 in the morning. She has breakfast, gets ready, says goodbye to her husband and her two small children and takes the car on the way to work, but this is where the differences begin because her car does not go to her work, but to Palma airport, Son Sant Joan. There she takes the plane every day that leaves at 7 in the morning to Ibiza, where she has her position as a teacher. The trip is repeated again in the early afternoon: plane back to Mallorca and car to her house. So from Monday to Friday.

She's not the only one who does it. There are more than 100 teachers from the Balearic Islands who took the exam last year and obtained a position outside their island, which forces them to change residence or take 10 planes a week to be able to reconcile. The oppositions that Carla took coincided with the stabilization process for interims, which had priority when choosing a position, so she had no choice but to accept the position that had been assigned to her in Santa Eulària (Eivissa). so as not to lose the place.

When classes started in September 2023, Carla's toddler was a breastfed child. She explains that the alternative option to traveling daily between the islands was for the whole family to move to Ibiza or for her to go with the children, which in turn involved finding a daycare to leave the little ones. “I chose the least bad option for the whole family. For me it is exhausting to have to take two planes a day, but the alternative was even worse,” she points out.

Carla lives daily the cost of insularity, the added difficulty of living in an archipelago where travel is complicated because the end of the journey always involves taking a boat or a plane. If the end of the trip is Formentera, the problem is aggravated by the triple insularity that forces you to take a ferry from Ibiza to reach an island of barely 12,000 inhabitants where doctors, teachers and other officials are also needed.

In the case of the Balearic Islands, another additional cost is added to the cost of insularity: that of housing. Carla Andrade explains that another reason why she decided to travel daily between Mallorca and Ibiza was that the 300 or 400 euros she spends per month on flights are half the price she would pay to live in Ibiza in a shared apartment. “For my family it was not viable to maintain the mortgage on our apartment in Mallorca and rent another one and move to Eivissa,” she says.

The home has become a luxury object on the island. A simple look at any of the rental real estate portals confirms this. Currently in Eivissa only two apartments are offered for rent for less than 1,500 euros per month: two studios of 50 and 61 square meters respectively that cost 1,300 euros. From there, prices skyrocket.

The sum of insularity and unaffordable housing has become an explosive cocktail in the Balearic Islands. In Menorca and Ibiza there is a shortage of health personnel and specialists because moving involves an extraordinary economic cost. The Iivissa oncology service has suffered so many casualties that for a season doctors had to travel from Mallorca to treat patients weekly. The Ibiza Health Service area launched a campaign at the end of last year in which it asked patients to rent their homes to health workers to try to combat this deficit.

The Government of Marga Prohens (PP) has announced a series of measures to compensate for the costs of insularity among public workers. The most controversial measure came shortly after being elected president, with the approval of a decree law that eliminated the requirement for Catalan for health professionals. Prohens' argument was that the requirement to speak Catalan discourages doctors and nurses from working on the islands, but in that same decree economic incentive measures were approved to attract professionals.

It represents a tacit recognition that the economic factor is a serious problem in providing quality public services in a discontinuous and fragmented territory by the sea. In the case of healthcare, in Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera there are about 2,000 places that are considered difficult to fill or very difficult to fill. The decree, in addition to the suppression of Catalan, included a financial supplement of between 4,000 and 20,000 euros per year depending on the characteristics of the place and the difficulties that exist in finding personnel.

Added to this is that the Balearic Parliament is about to approve an emergency law on housing with aid of 400 euros per month for teachers and health workers who have to travel to the islands with a staff shortage. It is the price of insularity. Carla hopes to already have a place in Mallorca or a service commission and not have to pay it again next year.