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Govt Cancels Tender For Aran Islands Helicopter Service

26th September 2015

#AranIslands - The Government last night cancelled the tender process for flights to the Aran Islands amid weeks of concern over changes to the Galway Bay islands' air service.

As RTÉ News reports, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs Joe McHugh said the European Commission would be notified before beginning a new tender process, and his department would enter talks with the existing provider Aer Arann about continuing their service after their current contract expires next week.

The decision means that the decades-long airplane service will now not be replaced by helicopter flights out of Carnmore, which were to be provided by the State's preferred tenderer Executive Helicopters.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, residents had expressed worry and anger over the change, with dismay over the distance between Carnmore and the ferry link at Rossaveal, and concerns over the reliability of helicopter service in often severe weather around the islands.

Only last week public meetings has been held on Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oirr to address the uncertainty over the future of the air service.

It since emerged that the Department of the Gaeltacht itself had no confirmation that Galway Airport could be used as a hub for the helicopter service - until Galway councillors passed a motion against it.

As of yesterday (Friday 25 September), Aer Arann had issued no statement over the situation under legal advice after mounting a High Court challenge to the original tender.

And Galway Bay FM adds that helicopters are expected to be eliminated as an option from any new tender contract for Aran Islands flights.

Published in Island News
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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