Aer Arann, Loganair land €23m air route contracts
Aer Arann and Scottish airline Loganair will benefit to the tune of €23m between them over the next three years after winning contracts to operate heavily subsidised routes from Kerry and Donegal to Dublin.
The Department of Transport confirmed yesterday that Aer Arann has secured the public service obligation (PSO) contract to operate the service between Kerry and Dublin and that Loganair will run the route between Donegal and Dublin.
But Transport Minister Leo Varadkar warned that the future for subsidies on the routes would depend on whether passengers embrace the services.
"Renewal of the contracts in 2014 will depend on how extensively the services are used, and on public finances," he said.
Mr Varadkar said that the distance of Donegal and Kerry from Dublin was the "key factor" in the Government's decision to continue funding the two PSO services for a further three years despite overall budgetary constraints.
He claimed the links would contribute towards "balanced regional development" in terms of business and tourism.
Aer Arann and Loganair will each operate two return flights a day from Dublin to Kerry and Donegal under the new contracts from November 3.
The annual subvention of taxpayers' money will amount to about €7.6m for the two routes.
A value-for-money report on Exchequer spending published earlier this year recommended that the Dublin-Kerry PSO route be axed.
Along with the Donegal-Dublin service, the route is the last surviving of the country's PSO contracts -- most of which stopped operating this summer.
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