Monday, September 26, 2011


I was delighted to hear the announcement that Harbour Flights have been given a licence to operate a seaplanes out of Dublin City Center.

At a time when the economy is in the dog house, it is brilliant to see individuals coming up with new ideas to do business. When I first read the plan for air taxis I was very sceptical, but a seaplane landing right in the heart of Ireland's major tourist and cultural hubs is genius...and a very welcomed addition to the tourism industry.

Harobour Flights hope to fly to Limerick, Cork, Belfast, Waterford, Aran Island, Lough Derg and, naturally, considering it is the home of the seaplane, Foynes, with the Dublin flights landing at Poolbeg (not far from the hotel).

The seaplanes will seat up to nine people with flight times taking less than 50 minutes to any of the destinations. A particular boost to tourists will be the link with the Aran Islands, which can take up to 6 hours to get to from Dublin. Harbour flights will make it possible to fly to the islands in less than an hour.

Initially, Harbour Flights will be operating a Cessna 172 and a Cessna 206 but by year two they hope to add a Cessna 208 to the fleet and by the third year, a 19 seat De Havilland Twin Otter.

And the cost? We're told customers will pay between €50 and €150 one way for the journey. There is a lot to be said for walking the 10 minutes to the Liffey and then jumping on a plane and landing in Galway Bay 30 minutes later. The company are also looking for a 25 minute turn around time at each destination. No check in; no queues and no taxis.

I really hope it works out for Harbour Flights CEO Emelyn Heaps and all his staff. I'll be looking forward to taking a trip myself...I wonder if the Grand Canal Hotel would accept it as an expense...worth a try!!!

Ollie McGrath

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