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€4.9 million contract announced for flights to the Aran Islands

The contract ensures the provision of a direct service from the mainland to the two smaller islands, Inis Meáin and Inis Oirr.

Aer Arann provides flights to the three Aran Islands.
Aer Arann provides flights to the three Aran Islands.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

MINISTER FOR RURAL and Community Development Heather Humphreys has announced a €4.9 million contract for flights to and from the Aran Islands.

The contract ensures the provision of a direct service from the mainland to the two smaller islands, Inis Meáin and Inis Oirr, providing a boost to local communities there.

The contract comes into effect on Tuesday 7 June and will last for four years. It will provide 68,274 public service obligation (PSO) seats annually to the three islands and will operate from Aerfort Chonamara, which was purchased by the state in 2019.

Minister Humphreys said the contract will significantly boost tourism to the Aran Islands.

She said in a press statement: “This contract gives certainty 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.

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“This is a fantastic development for these island communities. And it also sends a huge signal out ahead of the summer tourism season.”

The contract with Galway Aviation Services Limited, trading as Aer Arann Islands, follows extensive consultation with island stakeholders and a full procurement process.

It will also see the introduction of a flexible scheduling scheme that will allow operators 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.

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