Published on December 1st, 2019 | by Mark Dwyer0
Department of the Gaeltacht to Buy Connemara Airport
Reports this week suggest the Department of the Gaeltacht will pay €2.75 million for Connemara Airport (Aerfort na Mine) in a deal that is hoped to be concluded before the end of the year. The deal should have been completed by March this year but there was a disagreement between Aer Arann and the Department about the value of the airport. Aer Arann is owned by Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh.
The Irish Times reported that government ministers had been told that the airport was “of strategic importance” in maintaining an essential air service to the islands. Last October the Department of the Gaeltacht first expressed an interest in the purchase of the Connemara Airport. Aer Arann then informed the Department that it would be withdrawing from its two service contracts – the contract for the service itself and the contract for the use of the Connemara Airport at Inverin.
The Galway Aviation Services Ltd. contract for the provision of the air service to the three Aran Islands has recently been announced for a four-month contract worth approximately € 800,000 per annum. The 2017-2020 contract covers about 3,500 annual flights between the three Aran Islands and Connemara Airport. The service has carried 42,000 people annually at peak, but this figure has fallen to just over 30,000 according to the Irish Times.