Aer Arann secure one-year contract to Aran Islands

Government agrees €1.62m extension deal with Aer Arann as Islanders oppose change

Aran Islanders came to the mainland to protest about the possible loss of their air service supplied by Aer Arann for 45 years. It is proposed that a helicopter service replace it. Video: Bryan O'Brien


Aer Arann will provide an air service to the Aran Islands until September 30th 2016, the Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Joe McHughhas announced.

The extension of the interim contract will cost the Department €1.62 million and will allow time for the procurement of a four-year contract.

The contract will be back-dated to October 1st 2015, meaning the there will be no break in the grant-aided service.

Minister McHugh has also agreed a four-year contract with Aer Arann for management services at the aerodromes on the Aran Islands and at Cleggan and Inishbofin, Co Galway from until September 30th 2019. The total cost of that contract will be €1.86 million.

The announcement comes after the Department failed to extend the contract to the existing Aran Islands air service before it expired on September 30th.

Islanders had been vehemently opposed to the change and won support from west coast TDs.

The Minister had previously cancelled the controversial tender that would have awarded a new contract for four years to Executive Helicopters.

Aer Arann Islands had put its 40 staff on protective notice and had initiated a High Court appeal to the new tender.