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Aran Islands PSO

Old 27th Aug 2015, 13:02
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Aran Islands PSO

This decision is going to cause some serious fallout:
State air service contract withdrawn from Aer Arann Islands at likely loss of 40 jobs

Last year the Aer Arann Islands operation (using 3 Islanders) carried about 40,000 passengers to and from the Aran Islands, with multiple daily flights to/from/between the three islands. I'm hard pressed to see how a daily return flight in a 5-passenger Squirrel is going to give anything like the same level of service.
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Old 27th Aug 2015, 13:20
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Is that article correct when it states that it will be going to Galway Airport rather than Connemara? Or is that just sloppy journalism?

That might have made sense when Galway Airport had passenger flights and could provide a gateway to other destinations, but not now considering the bulk of the Aran Islands cultural and social connections are to Connemara.
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Old 27th Aug 2015, 13:48
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That's terrible news for the islands - and the end of Aer Aran islands I'd say How can they be so stupid in giving it a single daily helicopter service?!

Or is money that tight?
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Old 27th Aug 2015, 13:57
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Originally Posted by 840 View Post
Is that article correct when it states that it will be going to Galway Airport rather than Connemara? Or is that just sloppy journalism?
I believe it's correct. Executive Helicopters' base is at Galway Airport (Carnmore) so it appears that the service will operate from there.
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Old 27th Aug 2015, 16:57
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Or is money that tight?
A dearer tender would have to be justifiably better. EU tender rules
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Old 27th Aug 2015, 19:10
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The tender was notified through TED as required by EU legislation.

http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOT...:EN:HTML&src=0

or just do a Google search for PS024/005/002.

Key points:

1. Origin to be either Connemara or Galway airports, per supplier preference.
2. Minimum eight passenger seats in aircraft. Any substitute aircraft must also have at least eight seats.
3. Minimum two daily return flights to each of the three islands.
4. Bus connection service to / from Galway required as part of the service.


So keep an eye in the press for Executive Helicopters looking for a crew for an AS.365... actually didn't they used to operate 222s?

http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationP...n_Ireland.html


The award of the PSO does not deny Aer Arann Island's right to operate a scheduled service on the same routes if they think they can compete against the winner.

Last edited by El Bunto; 27th Aug 2015 at 19:25.
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Old 27th Aug 2015, 22:55
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Wasn't the whole point of building Connemara airport that the additional distance to/from Galway made the whole operation (even mire) uneconomical? With the operating costs of a heli, this will be an even bigger issue...
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Old 28th Aug 2015, 08:16
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One problem with Connemara is that it doesn't offer Avtur, so the cost of bowsering that could outweigh the distance advantage.
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Old 28th Aug 2015, 10:21
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Thanks for the link, El Bunto. That's really interesting, especially the requirement for twice-daily service, which makes me wonder whether the reference to "a" daily return service in the press release was just some sloppy editing, or a deliberate reduction in the frequency.

I'd started off by thinking that maybe Executive Helicopters could make a cheaper bid by running a once-daily service on a marginal-cost basis, but if they were to have to source a larger helicopter principally for this contract, I just don't see how the numbers can work.
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Old 28th Aug 2015, 10:22
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Isn't Connemara privately owned so that another operator cannot simply show up?

The reason why I mentioned GWY is that I find suprising that a heli operator is able to outbid an BN Islander operator, given that a) helis are much more expensive to operate and b) the distance the helicopter has to cover is longer. One has to wonder if Aer Arann Islands has been sitting on a gold mine in the past with little incentives to operate in a cost-effective way...?
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Old 28th Aug 2015, 14:15
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I'm rather sceptical about the margins possible with helicopters, particularly as the fares are capped and the landing fees eye-watering, but Executive Helicopters are under embargo until the contract is actually signed so it will be interesting to hear from them next week.

A lot of the media sound-bites are obviously being instigated by the losing team who are making maximum use of the information vacuum.

Aer Arann Islands were taking around €1.2 million in subsidy per annum recently, that is being reduced to €900k for the new contract so they would have likely had made cut-backs anyhow. Not that we'll hear about that now!

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Old 10th Sep 2015, 13:38
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Aer Arann Islands to continue and operate for at least 4 more months.

They have decided to look at the "viability" of the new service to GWY before making a final decision.
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Old 11th Sep 2015, 10:02
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The "viability" is primarily driven by the airfield (Galway Airport) potentially not being available to Executive Helicopters after 31/12/15 when the current operators lease expires.
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Old 23rd Sep 2015, 20:47
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The "viability" is primarily driven by the airfield (Galway Airport) potentially not being available to Executive Helicopters after 31/12/15 when the current operators lease expires.
Galway County Council has voted unanimously in favour of a motion blocking the use of Galway Airport for the provision of air services to the Aran Islands after 15 December.

Last I head the current operator refused to extend services beyond 30 September, is that still the case?
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 21:12
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Finally over and service will be re tendered after they cancelled the contract. Will consult with Aer Arann to continue to provide air services from Thursday until the next contract is awarded which most know who will get but suppose we must keep the European Commission happy....
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Old 24th Sep 2018, 01:23
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In June earlier this year, Aer Arann Island who hold the PSO to Inis Mor, Meain and Oirr from Connemara gave notice that they wpuld terminate service in Dec 2018 after a commercial dispute.
3 months ago it seemed like thiscwas just a negotiating tactic to get a bit more cash out of Dublin but 20 staff have now received letters warning things are not looking good

Does anyone think there will not be a new PSO operator ?
After the Galway / helicopter fiasco of a few years ago, is Aer Arann Islands the only potential bidder for a new PSO tender ? If not, who else has access to appropriate aircraft and crew in sufficient numbers and would be a competent candidate to fill the PSO air transport requirements ?
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Old 24th Sep 2018, 07:41
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Originally Posted by davidjohnson6 View Post
In June earlier this year, Aer Arann Island who hold the PSO to Inis Mor, Meain and Oirr from Connemara gave notice that they wpuld terminate service in Dec 2018 after a commercial dispute.
3 months ago it seemed like thiscwas just a negotiating tactic to get a bit more cash out of Dublin but 20 staff have now received letters warning things are not looking good

Does anyone think there will not be a new PSO operator ?
After the Galway / helicopter fiasco of a few years ago, is Aer Arann Islands the only potential bidder for a new PSO tender ? If not, who else has access to appropriate aircraft and crew in sufficient numbers and would be a competent candidate to fill the PSO air transport requirements ?
In the past, the German airline operating Islander flights to the Frisian islands in Germany operated a (seasonal) PSO in Estonia.
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Old 24th Sep 2018, 10:18
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Originally Posted by davidjohnson6 View Post
In June earlier this year, Aer Arann Island who hold the PSO to Inis Mor, Meain and Oirr from Connemara gave notice that they wpuld terminate service in Dec 2018 after a commercial dispute.
3 months ago it seemed like thiscwas just a negotiating tactic to get a bit more cash out of Dublin but 20 staff have now received letters warning things are not looking good

Does anyone think there will not be a new PSO operator ?
After the Galway / helicopter fiasco of a few years ago, is Aer Arann Islands the only potential bidder for a new PSO tender ? If not, who else has access to appropriate aircraft and crew in sufficient numbers and would be a competent candidate to fill the PSO air transport requirements ?
There are very few potential bidders with the relevant experience and fleet: Loganair, Directflight/Hebridean, and Isles of Scilly Skybus are the only ones that come to mind (yes, there's FLN in the Frisian Islands too) but I don't know whether any of them are in the mood for expansion.

The other obstacle to the entry of an external bidder is that the mainland airfield used for these flights (Connemara Airfield, IATA:NNR/ICAO: EICA) is IIRC owned by an associated company of Aer Arann Islands.

I continue to think that this is hardball negotiation and that the most likely final conclusion will be a revised contract for the existing operator, but one which will eliminate the existing contract's "fines" for non-PSO operations.
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