The Irish government is considering buying the Connemara airport from its current owner, independent Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh, to preserve the shuttle link to the three Aran Islands beyond December 6, 2018, The Irish Times has reported.

The three islands - Inisheer, Inishmaan, and Inishmore - are currently served by Aer Arann Islands (Galway) using BN-2 equipment. The carrier, which is also owned by Ó Céidigh, was awarded a three-year Public Service Obligation (PSO) contract starting on January 1, 2017, but announced earlier this year that it would surrender the routes in December 2018 already.

The Minister for Gaeltacht and Islands Seán Kyne will also talk to Shannon about operating the Aran Islands shuttle from this airport if talks about flights from Connemara break down. The three island airports are state-owned.

While Connemara is located just 10-20 kilometres away from the three Aran Islands, the distance to Shannon exceeds 60 kilometres.

Pádraig Ó Céidigh said he was open to selling the airport to the Irish government and suggested that the state could also buy Aer Arann Islands to ensure the continuity of the service.

Aer Arann Islands was spun off from its former parent Aer Arann (RE, Dublin Int'l) after the latter was acquired from Ó Céidigh by Stobart Group and later rebranded as Stobart Air (RE, Dublin Int'l). The operations of the two airlines, despite the name similarity, are now fully independent.