A new bilateral agreement between Ireland and Turkey giving fifth freedom rights for air cargo services, will pave the way for airlines like Turkish Airlines to have pick up rights for cargo at Shannon.
In announcing the initiative, chairman of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee, Pat Breen said this represents a significant boost, both for Shannon Airport and the wider region.
“This is new era for bilateral relations between Turkish Airlines and Shannon Airport. Turkish Airlines, who already operate services into and out of Dublin, have recognised the potential for development at Shannon Airport. The airline has also been using Shannon Airport as a refuelling stop, which has been going very well.
“I have been heavily involved with discussions with Turkish Airlines and has been working closely with the Shannon Airport Authorities and the Turkish Airlines. I met Dr Temil Kotil, CEO of Turkish Airlines in Ankara in order to explore the opportunities for services into Shannon. My understanding from those discussions is that they are interested in growing business at Shannon,” he said.
The Fine Gael TD added, “For the cluster of pharma, medtech and IT companies in the Shannon Region, the development of services in both directions would greatly enhance exporting opportunities for these companies. The use of air travel over road transport is a much more efficient way of doing business for these companies.
“Also, west bound, the United States is Ireland’s top air cargo market and there is strong demand for direct freighter services in the region. National Aviation Policy, which is due to be finalised shortly, designates Shannon Airport as a centre for the development of air cargo. The airport is ideally positioned to become a centre for air cargo as it is uncongested, has a long runway, and has a cluster of pharma, medtech and ICT manufacturing companies located in the region.”
Turkish Airlines will operate a weekly Shannon-Chicago service on Fridays through its cargo subsidiary Turkish Cargo, significantly boosting options for Irish exporters, from multi-nationals to SMEs.
Chicago is a major cargo hub and the new service will facilitate exporters to the US with tight supply chain requirements, particularly those with high-value products such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals and electronics.
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, capable of transporting the full range of cargo – from high-value consumer goods, to industrial equipment, to thoroughbred horses. The aircraft has a payload of up to 70 tonnes.
Shannon Group CEO, Neil Pakey said, “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.”
The new service will finally give Irish exporters a dedicated freighter service to the US. 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, chair of 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