In order to ensure the long-term availability of flights to the Aran Islands, the Irish government has agreed to purchase Connemara Airport, which is just 15 nautical miles (28 kilometres) west of Galway on Ireland's west coast, according to reports on internet publication The Journal.ie.

Plans by the Irish government to buy the airport have been mooted for some years due to the threat that services to the islands would be withdrawn.

While a government spokesperson said the airport is a “strategic piece of infrastructure” for the State, the purchase is seen as one of the only ways to ensure long-term air connectivity from the mainland to and from the Aran Islands.

The airport is owned by Pádraig O Céidigh, who also owned Aer Arann (now Stobart Air). While he would not comment on the sale directly to The Journal.ie, he did say that he had told the government if they wished to offer a “fair and reasonable price” for the airport he would consider selling it. He added that a process then began and was recently completed.

Aer Arann Islands (Galway) operates from Connemara with regular flights to the Aran Islands of Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer.

During the winter the airline flies from Connemara to each of the three islands 19x weekly on its fleet of two BN-2s - EI-AYN (msn 704) and EI-CUW (msn 2293). In the peak summer month of August, this can rise to 53x weekly flights on the hop between Connemara and Inishmore.

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