Ireland's Eye: What's going on in the old sod this week
A look at news from around Ireland
Blow to Galway Airport
THE future of Galway Airport is in doubt after Aer Arann announced last week that it is pulling its winter schedule from the Carnmore facility.
While management at the airport says it is not closing down, Aer Arann’s withdrawal means a serious downgrading of the airport, which will now have no commercial scheduled passenger flights for the next six months.
It also means that approximately 40 direct employees of the airport including check-in staff, security personnel, bar and retail staff, air traffic controllers and administration staff will lose their jobs.
“Aer Arann Regional and Galway Airport have been working closely together to explore all commercial options in an environment where passenger numbers and revenue have continued to decline. However, despite the best endeavors of both airline and airport, bookings have continued to deteriorate and all routes are projected to be loss-making during the thinner winter season when bookings are historically lower,” a statement from Aer Arann said.
Aer Arann’s chief executive Paul Schütz said that the announcement is necessary due to a number of factors that are outside the control of the airline.
“A number of issues have combined to bring about this decision but the biggest driver is the economy, which has led to fewer people travelling and a significant reduction in fare revenues, which is being experienced by regional airlines all over Europe,” he added.
Both Galway Airport and Aer Arann have confirmed the companies will continue to work together with a view to re-launching the Aer Arann services during the 2012 summer season.
OVER 30 city taxi drivers recently signed up to be part of a pilot scheme aimed at giving members of the public the ability to confirm the identity of a taxi driver using their smartphone.
The pilot, TrustiD Taxi system, is due to run for four to six weeks, and many taxi companies around the city have shown major interest in the idea. The technology has been developed by Global Business Register Ltd. (GBR) which is based at ArcLabs Research Center in Carriganore, Co. Waterford.
Chief Executive Ben Cronin said that by using this software, a member of the public could quickly and easily identify the taxi driver and car by scanning the highly visible barcode displayed on the taxi’s rear windows with a mobile phone.
When a member of the public scans one of the barcodes they will receive the verified identity of the licensed taxi driver and vehicle back to their phone.
The app is available for free through the iPhone app store or Android marketplace. Cronin said with the app there is now a way of verifying the taxi driver and car which will remove the fear of getting into a taxi for the customer, and, hopefully improve custom for the driver.
Eric O’Brien, manager of Rapid Cabs, one of the taxi companies taking part in the pilot, said if the app is officially launched it will increase people’s trust in the taxi industry and put an end to unlicensed taxis operating in the city.
“It will eliminate those who are unregulated and do not have the required licensing, and would get people using more licensed taxis,” he said.
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