Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria and a favourite destination for both package holidaymakers and gay travellers, is opening up as a hub for travellers to north-west Africa. The regional airline of the Canaries, Binter ( www.binternet.com) is launching weekly flights between Las Palmas and the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott. For the first two weeks of September services will operate on Tuesdays; thereafter the departure day switches to Friday.

Fares start at around €200 (£140) each way, which looks steep for a flight of under two hours. Africa-bound travellers who can buy a cheap deal from one of many UK airports to Las Palmas could undercut the fare compared with existing services via Paris.

Binter already links Las Palmas with Marrakech four times a week with fares of around €160 (£114) each way. This opens up the possibility of a two-centre trip to the Canaries and Morocco using low-cost flights to and from Britain.

One essentially useful aspect of the airline's Africa flights is that a hop from any of the other Canary islands is included in the fare, allowing you to travel to or from Tenerife, Lanzarote or elsewhere at no extra charge.

Travellers to and from La Gomera are set to benefit from an increase in capacity between Las Palmas and the island's small airport. As Binter's interesting slogan goes, "if you need a holiday, don't stay at home".

n Airport workers in Fuerteventura are considering action after the airport's authority said Iberia's contract for ground handling on the island would end. AENA, which controls most of Spain's airports, has been reassigning the handling companies at a number of destinations. The 142 Iberia handling staff at the airport fear their pay and conditions would suffer under new management.

Last summer, ground staff at Lanzarote staged sporadic industrial action which disrupted UK flights, and in July Barcelona airport was paralysed when Iberia ground staff went on strike.

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