The Government has agreed a contract extension with Aer Arann to provide flights to the Aran Islands until next year.

The four month extension comes into effect this week and will continue until the end of January. 

It will operate on the same terms as the soon to finish contract, that commenced last December. 

That was the result of an agreement between Aer Arann and Roinn na Gaeltachta, after a dispute over the total State subvention that would provided to the company. 

It is understood the ten month public subsidy amounted to around €800,000.

The Minister of State for the Islands, Sean Kyne, said a maximum subsidy of just over €300,000 would be paid to the company, for the duration of the new four month contract extension. 

While the decision secures air services to the islands in the short term, residents are seeking greater clarity about the longer term commitment to the air link.

It is not clear when tenders will be sought for a new four year Public Service Obligation contract.