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Tourism history preserved

Aircraft to be restored

Convair CV990 Coronado

Mallorca's tourism business and history is inextricably bound to the history of package tourism and charter flights. Back in the old days before the Internet revolutionised foreign travel we were like helpless babies in the big wide world and needed the big tour companies to provide for our every need.

After flicking through a brochure and choosing our holiday spot all we had to do was get to the airport before boarding our charter flight, being coached to our hotel, being welcomed by our holiday rep who sold us loads of excursions before being coached back to the airport with our tans and giant donkeys.

Mallorca found fame in the 60's through this mass tourism and millions of its visitors arrived on one charter airline now long gone – Spantax. This Spanish airline flew from 1959 until its demise in 1988 and now just one of its planes exists and it's parked up in Palma's Son Sant Joan airport.

On the day it went bump, Spantax had 11 planes at Palma airport but over time 10 were dismantled for parts and scrap. They were all the same model, the Convair CV990 Coronado, and the one remaining, EC-BZO, is one of only four left in the world – one in a Swiss museum and two in the Mojave desert.

Needless to say, poor old EC-BZO's condition has deteriorated somewhat over the near 30 years it's been hanging about in the military section of the airport. Because of its unique place in the history of the island's tourism it was catalogued in 2010 but the authorities never threw any money in its direction for preservation.

Now, at last the Consell of Mallorca, probably thanks to a campaign by the Friends of Son Sant Joan (photo) – a group of aircraft enthusiasts – has promised to finance EC-BZO's restoration as it is such an important part of the island's recent heritage.

It's thought that AENA the Spanish airports authority will cede some space to keep and display it and that some private companies will help in the restoration process.

I think that's a great story and something well worth doing. I wonder if there are any old Dan-Air planes knocking about?