Farranfore base for oil choppers
A new helicopter base is to open at Kerry Airport to service oil and gas exploration operations off the west coast.
On Monday it was announced that UK-based international asset and infrastructure management company Babcock International are to open a helicopter base facility at Kerry Airport in Farranfore.
The base - expected to be home to two long-distance transportation helicopters - will be used to service offshore oil and gas exploration boats and rigs off the Irish coast.
Babcock International's aviation subsidiary provides crew change and transport services to oil and gas platforms in the North Sea, Mediterranean and Australasia regions, carrying over 215,000 passengers a year to various operations.
News that Babcock has chosen Kerry to locate the base is a major boost to Kerry Airport as both Cork and Shannon had previously been mooted as possible sites for the firm's new Irish base.
The announcement was made on Monday night at the appointment of Kerry Airport's new General Manager, John Mulhern.
Mr Mulhern - who takes over from the recently-retired Peter Moore - is a Waterville native and was previously the Chief Operating Officer with responsibilities for Business Development at Mater Private Hospital Cork.
He was officially unveiled as the airport's new GM at a ceremony in the airport on Monday.
Mr Mulhern said he was delighted to be joining the airport's management team at such an exciting time.
"I've landed in Kerry Airport at a very exciting and positive time," he said.
"I'm looking forward to working with the board to ensure that Kerry Airport remains a major gateway between Kerry and global commercial and tourism markets for many years to come," said Mr Mulhern.