Aran Islands flights persevere during the pandemic
Aran Islands flights from and to the Islands are ensuring that islanders aren’t left stranded during the pandemic.
Aer Arann Islands Head of Public Relations Grainne McDonagh spoke to Galway Pulse about how the airport has helped the people of the Aran Islands over the past year.
“We operate a schedule to all three of the Aran Islands, during the higher level lockdowns we only carry passengers for essential purposes; doctors, Covid-19 testers, nurses, essential service providers like ESB and islanders that need to travel to Galway for medical and other important appointments.”, she said.
The islands experienced a year without the thousands of tourists who travel to the islands off the coast of Galway. However Aer Arann views the past 12 months as an overall success.
“It has been a difficult year business-wise as we are a lot quieter than we normally would be. In saying that we’re delighted that we are still operating to and from the Islands. The most positive thing is our full workforce both in Inverin and on the Islands are still employed,” said McDonagh.
The community spirit of the islands made the year manageable for Ms McDonagh and the rest of the Aer Arann Islands staff.
“As staff of an airline that serves the community, lots of acts of kindness are needed daily. It was not uncommon for us to pick up prescriptions, shopping, and the odd sick pet from the vets, anything we could do to avoid unnecessary travel for the islanders,” she said.
Sinéad Ní Chonghaile, a UL student from Inis Oírr, spoke to Galway Pulse about how the Connemara airport has made life easier for the islanders.
“Aer Arann makes life so much easier for the islanders, mainly for the older people who find it difficult to travel by boat, especially during the rough winter weather. Since starting college the service made a big difference in getting me home for the weekends.”
McDonagh points out that they are fortunate to be in a position to keep their doors open, “With so much travel limited and cancelled we feel privileged to serve the Islands community.”
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Liam De Brùn