LIMERICK could be linked to Galway and the Aran Islands by a 30-minute seaplane journey by May after proposals to build a seaplane terminal at the Clarion Hotel got permission.
This week, Limerick City Council gave the green light to Harbour Air Ireland to install floating pontoons, an access gangway, mooring anchors and other infrastructure for the berthing of a seaplane on the opening to the river Shannon in front of the Clarion Hotel.
Part of a wider project to connect the Flying Boat Museum in Foynes to the Western Seaboard, Harbour Air CEO Emelyn Heaps says he expects the city terminal to be up and running in the next three months - with the creation of five new jobs.
“With the pontoons and the walk way, we will be investing €138,000 in Limerick,” he said.
Mr Heaps would not comment on the price of a single journey on the seaplane, which can carry 19 passengers, but said it would be “affordable”. He had hinted last year that a seat would cost between €40 and €50 each way.
He criticised the government for a lack of support in his project, saying: “Every morning when I turn the radio on, I am hearing someone has created six jobs here, four jobs there. We will probably create 80 jobs when [the whole network] is in place. Nobody has turned around and told us ‘Well Done’. If I was a Chinese person doing this, I would be met at Shannon Airport,” he commented.
However, he thanked Limerick City Council for giving planning permission to the project.