General Aviation

Published on January 16th, 2020 | by Mark Dwyer


Aer Arann Islands Sold

Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh has sold Aer Arann Islands to Galway businessman and pilot Jarlath Conneely with the contracts signed last week. Aer Arann Islands operates Public Serivce Obligation (PSO) from it base at Aerfort na Mine in Connemara to the three Aran Island, Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer. The airline operates three Britten-Norman Islands, EI-AYN, EI-BCE and EI-CUW. The PSO routes are currently planned to operate until the end of January but an extension to this deadline is likely. The contract is worth about €800,000 annually. As we reported in December, the Department of the Gaeltacht bought (Aerfort na Mine) for €2.75 million.

Jarlath Conneely is well known in the Irish general aviation community and has been flying for 35 years. He is a member of the Galway Flying Club and is originally from Salthill in Galway.

Aer Arann Islands was established in 1970 by James Coen and Ralph Langan to provide an island-hopping air service between Galway and the Aran Islands. Operations, using a single Britten-Norman Islander, began in August 1970. In 1994 Padraig O’Ceidigh purchased Aer Arann and set about laying the groundwork for a feeder air service for Ireland and the UK. This continued to grow over the years and was the basis for Stobart Air as we know it today.

Galway Flying Club

In other Galway Aviation news, Galway City and County councillors voted to grant a licence to Galway Flying Club to use the Galway Airport site over the next year. While the flying club has secured the leasehold for the airstrip for 2020, they have been advised to search for an alternative location going forward due to future plans to develop the site.

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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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