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Shannon’s 70 years of transatlantic aviation

Champion Chatter Podcast

This month, 70 years ago the first transatlantic flight touched down at Rineanna Airport – now Shannon International Airport and to mark this milestone, The Clare Champion has published a special supplement.

Among the contributors is Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who writes:

IN 1945, Shannon Airport’s geographic position between Europe and America made it an ideal stepping stone between the old and new worlds.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

On October 24 this year, the airport celebrates the 70th anniversary of the first commercial transatlantic flight from the US to Shannon. I would like to acknowledge this major achievement and congratulate the airport on achieving yet another milestone in its illustrious history.

American Overseas Airlines was the operator 70 years ago of that historic first flight and today, American Airlines, its successor, flies from Shannon to Philadelphia.

Today, Shannon Airport is a vital access point in the transatlantic journey of many passengers, with its location on the Wild Atlantic Way making it even more attractive to visitors. The aviation sector is not just a conduit for growth but a key economic driver and Shannon Airport is central to the economic prosperity of the Mid-West and West
Shannon is unique among Irish airports and has a long history of innovation, becoming the first customs-free airport in the world and, in 1947, opening the world’s first Duty Free shop, now a multi-billion dollar global industry.

The airport is home to the longest runway in Ireland and was Europe’s first US preclearance facility for passengers and business jets.

Over the years, the airport has proved resilient having faced and overcome many challenges throughout its history. I am pleased that following my Government’s decision in 2013 to make it an independent airport and establish Shannon Group, the airport’s fortunes have flourished. Thanks to a strong chairman and CEO at the helm and a dedicated staff, the airport is firmly in growth mode, recording a 17% growth in passenger numbers last year and welcoming more than 1.6 million passengers.

Shannon is a catalyst for growth, serving the US, Europe and the UK and the airport offers more flights, destinations and choice than ever before.

It connects to major hubs, such as JFK and Heathrow, and this type of connectivity is critical to Ireland’s ability to reach global export markets, attract Foreign Direct Investment and bring international visitors to our shores – all of which stimulate job creation.

The Shannon Airport management team is, I know, committed not only to increasing the traffic levels at Shannon Airport but also, through the International Aviation Services Centre (IASC), to developing the existing aerospace industry cluster at Shannon into a global-level centre of excellence in aviation services.

I would like to congratulate them on their special anniversary and wish them continued good fortune in the years ahead.


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