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Aran Islands air service tender re-issued after last year's controversy

A previous tender was cancelled late last year.

download Source: calflier001

THE GOVERNMENT HAS re-issued a tender for the provision of an air service between Galway and the Aran Islands after it cancelled it last year in controversial circumstances.

The tender was published on 1 April and is for the provision of a “Public Service Obligation” (PSO) air service between the islands and Na Mine Airport in Connemara.

The airplane service has been provided by Aer Arann for the past 45 years, but last summer the service went out to tender and was awarded to Galway-based helicopter company Executive Helicopters.

The decision was met with controversy from natives of the Aran Islands for a number of reasons – primarily the fact that the service would be moved to run out of Galway Airport in Carnmore, some five miles east of Galway city.

Locals feared that the 30-mile distance between Carnmore and Rossaveal, from where ferries to the islands depart, would have left travellers stranded if flights were cancelled.

The government climbed down on its decision amid the controversy, and the Department of the Gaeltacht cancelled the tender in September as a result.

The tender has now been re-issued and is set to operate between Na Mine Airport (rather than Galway Airport).

Companies have until 3 June to declare an interest.

Read: Embattled Aer Arann service isn’t going anywhere for another year

Read: What will become of the Aran Islands now that their airplane service is gone?

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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