Published on June 20th, 2018 | by Mark Dwyer


Aer Arann Islands to Cease Island Flights by December

Aer Arann Islands has served six months’ notice on the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht that it is to terminate its contract to operate Public Service Obligation (PSO) flights to the Aran Islands from 6th December this year. The PSO contract covers approximately 3500 flights to and from the Islands each year which generates about €1.85 million per annum for the company. This also covers the management and operation of the four airports at Inverin,  Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer under the four year contract.

The disagreement centres around a subsidy reduction of €483 per non-PSO flight operated by the company. The Department said this was clearly set out in the contract it entered into with Aer Arann in 2016 and came into effect in January 2017. Minister of State with responsibility for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht and the Islands Joe McHugh said he intends to meet with members of the island communities this week to reassure them about flight services to and from the islands. The department says that it intends to put the flight routes out to tender “as a matter of priority”.

“The minister has stressed that both he and the department’s priority is to ensure continuity of transport services for island communities,” a spokesperson for the department said. CSO figures for Q4 2017 show a 23% reduction in passengers in Connemara to 9,335. While flights between the islands make up the bulk of these figures, other flights may be included.

In December, residents on the Aran Islands welcomed a new five-year contract, that will guarantee daily morning and evening sea ferry services by Aran Ferries Teo between Ros a’ Mhíl and each of the three islands. Bus services between Ros a’ Mhíl and Galway city are also included in the contract. As part of the deal, the price of a return fare for islanders will be capped at €10. This represents a reduction on the existing €15 fare for residents of Inis Mór.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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