Thursday 19 April 2018

Airport in Aer Arann objection

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

GALWAY Airport, which counts Aer Arann as virtually its sole flight operator, objected at a creditors' meeting last month to a scheme of arrangement put forward by the airline's examiner, Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton.

The airport was owed €518,000 by Aer Arann for the provision of operational services and was also in line to be paid roughly €1.7m by Aer Arann under a 20-year lease that the airline had on a hangar.

It is unclear whether the airport objected as a creditor in both or just one of the debt classes. Although the airport objected at the creditors' meeting, it did not object in court to proceedings this week, which will result today in the Aer Arann scheme being formally approved by the High Court.

Galway Airport will receive just under €52,000 of the €518,000 that it is owed. It is believed that Aer Arann has also agreed to pay a six-figure sum to the airport as a lease break fee on the hangar it uses.

Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, Galway Airport managing director Joe Walsh refused to say whether the airport's board had objected at the creditors' meeting, but refuted comments made by Aer Arann chairman Padraig O Ceidigh that the airport had "voted to liquidate" the airline.

"That's not correct," he said. "As a company, we're bound by corporate governance best practice and will do what we need to do to ensure we can get the best deal we can."

He added that the airport, which receives a €2.3m annual state subsidy, was now left with a hole in its accounts following the writing off of most of the money owed to it by Aer Arann.

Mr Walsh added that the airport provided a critical link from the West, with 85pc of its business involving passengers travelling to or from the UK.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business