Aer Arann flights to islands secured for another year

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Aer Arann will continue its air service to the Aran Islands for another year.

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has confirmed its contract to provide the State-subsidised flights has been extended to the end of September 2016

The interim contract will cost €1.62 million, during which time a procurement process will take place for a new tender.

The announcement comes after a climbdown by the Department of the Gaeltacht, which had issued a now cancelled contract to a helicopter service - a move opposed by residents of the islands.

In a press release, the Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Mr. Joe McHugh said: "The same level of grant-aided service will be provided under this extension as is available at present. The period of the extension will be used to undertake a new procurement process for a four year contract."

The Minister of State also announced that his Department has agreed a four-year contract with Galway Aviation Services Ltd - trading as Aer Arann - for the provision of aerodrome management services on the Aran Islands and at Cleggan and Inishbofin, Co. Galway until 30 September 2019.

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