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Fledgling seaplane firm seeks wings

A company which wants to operate Ireland's first seaplane service nationwide, taking off from our seas and lakes, is after a floatplane.

Harbour Flights Ireland intends to offer commuter flights and sightseeing trips throughout the island of Ireland. It is now looking to acquire a Cessna 206 amphibian seaplane.

The company has been involved in a five-year project of seeking planning permission for the service at various locations and test flights. Based in Mountshannon, Co Clare, the company has full planning permission to run its operations from there.

It is also cleared for floating pontoons, aviation fuel and the berthing of a seaplane in Galway city, as well as a seaplane base in Limerick city.

Proposed flight locations include Athlone, Inishmore, Waterford, Killarney, Cobh, Belfast and Dublin. Lough Derg is the first Irish Aviation Authority licensed seaplane base in the country.

The company says it will operate only in daylight hours and will run a similar service to Harbour Air Vancouver, which operates 100 flights a day from Vancouver mainland to Vancouver Island.

"Dublin receives half of our annual tourists with the west of Ireland predominantly being a day destination," said a spokesperson.

"Our intention is to change this perception and make Dublin the day visit while opening up all of the tourist destinations in the west and have them easily accessible by seaplane."

Those behind the venture include businessman Emelyn Heaps, solicitor Ronan Connolly and civil engineer Adam Cronin, with Captain Kieran O'Connor, of the National Flight Centre Lucan, as their aviation consultant.

Sunday Independent