EXPORTERS to the US are to benefit from the launch of Ireland’s only direct all-cargo air service to North America at Shannon. Turkish Airlines has been granted permission to carry air cargo from Shannon to Chicago, starting immediately.
In March, Turkish Airlines began making refuelling stops at Shannon for the first time.
They will now operate a weekly Shannon-Chicago service on Fridays, through their cargo subsidiary Turkish Cargo, boosting options for Irish exporters of all sizes.
The service will be operated with Turkish Cargo’s modern fuel-efficient Airbus A330F aircraft, which is the world’s most modern mid-size freighter and is capable of transporting cargo from high-value consumer goods to industrial equipment to thoroughbred horses.
After the separation from the DAA, Shannon Group identified the development of an air freight hub as a major opportunity, as much of Irish air cargo exports now travel by truck to Britain because of a lack of suitable direct flights.
Shannon Group CEO Neil Pakey said, “The US is Ireland’s largest market for air cargo exports and this service will benefit Irish exporters, as they will be able to enjoy Shannon’s uncongested cargo facilities and efficient processing.
“Turkish Airlines is one of the fastest-growing and most successful airline companies in the world. We’re confident this will be the start of a long and successful partnership between Turkish Airlines and Shannon Airport and we will be engaging with them about the future expansion of their operation.”
Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is a global leader in the movement of freight, mail and goods and had over 1.5 million tonnes of cargo throughput last year alone.
As well as being well connected to US road and rail networks, the airport offers connections to over 200 cities across the US and the world, opening a whole range of new distribution channels from Shannon.
Rose Hynes, chairman, Shannon Group said, “Shannon Group has identified a very real opportunity for developing Ireland’s leading air cargo base at Shannon. We are delighted to have this new business relationship with Turkish Airlines, one of the world’s leading airlines.
“Their decision to commence this service at Shannon is another step in the transformation of the airport.
“This new service provides high-quality cargo services to the US for exporters throughout Ireland. I see this as the lift-off for an air freight hub at Shannon.
“We will be looking to add to this service and to continue supporting Irish businesses in connecting with global markets.”
Securing the cargo link between Shannon and Chicago is a massive boost for business, according to Shannon Chamber.
Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes said, “Shannon’s ability to become Ireland’s leading cargo hub base has got a welcome boost with the announcement that Turkish Airlines has selected Shannon for the first direct all-cargo flights to the US.”
Ms Downes said it will be beneficial to businesses far beyond Shannon’s catchment.
“It speaks volumes for Shannon’s capability and is a welcome development for the business community, not just in Shannon but throughout Ireland. Speed to market is of the essence for so many industry sectors today and the ability to now export direct to the US from Shannon bears testament to the ease of doing business in and from Shannon.
Developments of this nature project the Shannon message to an extensive global audience and serve to act as an attractor for further investment.”