Aer Arann to fly to Aran islands without Government contract

Department fails to offer extension before last flight under existing agreement

Aer Arann Islands has said it will fly today as a gesture of goodwill to the islanders

Aer Arann Islands has said it will fly today as a gesture of goodwill to the islanders

 

The Department of the Gaeltacht failed to extend the contract to the existing Aran Islands air service before it made its last flight yesterday .

However, Aer Arann Islands has said it will fly today as a gesture of goodwill to the islanders, and will review the situation on a day-to-day basis. However, the company has said it cannot continue to run the service to the three Aran Islands indefinitely without a contract.

It said that talks earlier this week with the department had been “positive”.

Late last week, Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh cancelled the controversial tender that would have awarded a new contract for four years to Executive Helicopters. It flies from Galway Airport, while the Aer Arann Islands service is from Inverin in Connemara.

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

Mr McHugh said his department would negotiate with Aer Arann Islands to extend the existing service, pending the issue of a new tender procedure. It had been hoped that discussions this week would conclude a year’s extension.

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