Published on June 5th, 2022 | by Mark Dwyer


Four Year PSO Contract Awarded to Aer Arann Islands

Galway Aviation Services Limited, trading as Aer Arann Islands, has been awarded a €4.9 million air service contract for the Aran Islands following extensive consultation with island stakeholders and a full procurement process. The PSO contract comes into effect on Tuesday, June 7th, and will run for four years until 2026. It will ensure essential mainland connectivity for the island communities and will significantly boost tourism. For the first time, the contract ensures the provision of a direct service from the mainland to Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr, which will ensure a faster service for those smaller islands.

The contract will provide 68,274 PSO seats annually to the three islands and will operate from Aerfort Chonamara, which was purchased by the State in 2019 for €2.75 million. The contract will also see the introduction of a flexible scheduling scheme that will allow the operator to better respond to local service demands, such as island festivals and events. ‘Ad Hoc’ and ‘Scheduled non-PSO’ flights will also be provided by the operator to meet any demand above the agreed PSO seating allocation.

Announcing the decision, Minister Humphreys said: “This contract gives certainly to the communities of Oileáin Árainn. It ensures they can continue to avail of a year round, reliable and affordable air service to and from Aerfort Chonamara. And for the first time, we will now have direct flights to Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr – two wonderful island communities that are so steeped in history, culture and folklore. This is a fantastic development for these island communities. And it also sends a huge signal out ahead of the summer tourism season. What better way to spend your summer holidays than on Oileáin Árainn or our other offshore islands. This contract ensures we will have regular, direct flights from Aerfort Chonamara – to the benefit of the residents of Oileáin Árainn and tourists alike. Today’s news is further proof of my contract as Minister to implement our ambitious rural development policy ‘Our Rural Future’, which has our islands at its core.”

In April 2021, the Department agreed a 4-year contract worth €5.6 million with Galway Aviation Services Limited to provide day to day management services of Aerfort Chonamara and the aerodromes on the three islands.

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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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