Aran Islands air service gets €1.8m lifeline

The Irish Government has announced that it will continue to subsidise air services to the three Aran Islands.

The move follows a vocal campaign by the islanders from Inis Mor, Inis Meain and Inis Oirr who have been campaigning over the past number of months for the retention of the air service.

It has been in place for more than 40 years.

The subsidy to operate the service has cost the Government €1.8m a year and now the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has advertised for a one-year extension to September 2014 with an option to continue for another year.

Aer Arann Islands provides a seven-day air taxi service to each of the three islands.

Ikea teams up with Marriott to launch chain of budget hotels

Ikea will team up with Marriott International Inc to open a chain of budget hotels across western Europe during the next five years.

The Swedish company, which announced last year it would launch the hotel chain, said Marriott – the operator of luxury hotels across the world – would be its partner.

They will develop 50 hotels with 150 to 300 rooms each in major cities. The first is scheduled to open in Milan next year.

Peter Andrews, head of inter-hospitality – part of Inter Ikea’s property division – said the agreement allowed the group “to build a high-quality hotel property investment portfolio”.

Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer, already owns a handful of hotels. Marriott International has more than 3,700 properties in 74 countries and territories.