It will be business as usual, for the time being, at Galway Airport while embattled regional airline Aer Arann, which recently applied for voluntary examinership, attempts to implement a survival plan, according to airport management.
Aer Arann, which has suffered losses of more than €18 million in the past 30 months, applied to the High Court for examinership last Thursday. This resulted in the appointment of Mr Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton as interim examiner and the airline being placed under court protection from creditors for a period of up to 70 days while it attempts to restructure its debts.
The airline, which employs 320 people in Ireland, operates air services to Dublin, London Luton, Lorient, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Waterford from Galway Airport and therefore management and local representatives are praying for a positive outcome as the loss of such services may very well have a detrimental effect on the regional airport.
However, for the time being flights will continue to operate as normal, according to a statement from the Galway Airport board of management. The board is currently having regular meetings with the examiner, Aer Arann management, and relevant Government ministers to discuss the issue.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael Galway West Senator, Fidelma Healy Eames stressed that the future of Galway Airport is “highly dependent” on Aer Arann’s survival and has called on the Government and Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe, to give every support.
“The Government must show commitment to job retention and regional development particularly in the west. Minister O’Keeffe must get off his hands and start taking the future of Aer Arann and the western region seriously. I am not at all convinced that he heeded previous calls by Aer Arann’s Padraig O’Ceidigh. Now is the time to act where there is still hope.
“Aer Arann is the key airline that fulfils a regional development remit and provides connectivity between the regions and Europe. It is well known that Galway has historically benefited from high-end investment and multi-national interest as a result of the winning combination of Galway airport and Aer Arann. Just ask the IDA and Galway Chamber of Commerce. If this Government was a smart one it would provide Aer Arann with every possible support to ensure its survival and continued existence.
“Aer Arann has voluntarily gone into examinership in the hope that it will be given the space to restructure its debts and get its affairs back in order. To that end I wish it well. It is not an easy time for management and staff. Regional airports the length and breadth of the country depend on Aer Arran for their survival. Galway Airport is no different,” she said.