||This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2013)|
Aerfort na Sionainne
|IATA: SNN – ICAO: EINN|
|Owner||Government of Ireland|
|Elevation AMSL||46 ft / 14 m|
|Passenger change 11-12||14.2%|
|Movements change 11-12||5.58%|
|Source: Irish AIS
Aircraft Movements, Passengers
Shannon Airport (Irish: Aerfort na Sionainne) (IATA: SNN, ICAO: EINN) is one of Ireland's three primary airports, along with Dublin and Cork. In 2012 1.39 million passengers passed through the airport, making it the third busiest airport in the state after Dublin and Cork. Shannon Airport is located in Shannon, County Clare and mainly serves Limerick, Ennis, Galway and the south-west of Ireland.
Shannon is Ireland's most historic airport; it was the first transatlantic gateway between Ireland and the US; the birthplace of Duty Free Shopping, aviation leasing and reputedly gave rise to the world famous Irish Coffee.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2013)|
In the late 1930s, transatlantic air traffic was dominated by flying boats, and a flying boat terminal was located at Foynes on the south side of the Shannon Estuary. However, it was realised that changing technology would require a runway and airport.
In 1936 the Government of Ireland confirmed that it would develop a 3.1 km2 (1.2 sq mi) site at Rineanna for the country's first transatlantic airport. The land on which the airport was to be built was boggy, and on 8 October 1936 work began to drain the land. By 1942 a serviceable airport had been established and was named Shannon Airport. By 1945 the existing runways at Shannon were extended to allow transatlantic flights to land.
When World War II ended, the airport was ready to be used by the many new post-war commercial airlines of Europe and North America. On 16 September 1945 the first transatlantic proving flight, a Pan Am DC-4, landed at Shannon from New York City. On 24 October, the first scheduled commercial flight, an American Overseas Airlines DC-4, passed through Shannon Airport.
The number of international carriers rose sharply in succeeding years as Shannon became well known as the gateway between Europe and the Americas. Limited aircraft range necessitated refuelling stops on many journeys. Shannon became the most convenient stopping point before and after the trip across the Atlantic.
The longest runway in Ireland, at over 3000 metres, is located at Shannon. It was a designated landing site for the Space Shuttle.
Ryanair increased services and passenger numbers at the airport through 2008. In 2007, Shannon carried 3.2 million passengers. However, after a disagreement with the DAA in 2008, Ryanair announced that the number of based aircraft would reduce from 4 to 1 and 150 jobs would be lost. Services were cut by 75% and 32 Ryanair routes from the airport were reduced to 8.
CityJet launched a twice-daily route to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2008 when Aer Lingus closed its London Heathrow flights. The company based an Avro RJ70 at Shannon. More services were expected, including a route to London City Airport; however CityJet pulled out of Shannon in October 2009 after Aer Lingus reinstated their Heathrow Flights.
Aer Arann launched services to 4 UK Destinations in 2010 under the Aer Lingus Regional Banner. Two ATR 72 are now based at Shannon and fly regularly to Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester, with flights to Bristol and Rennes during the summer months. A Glasgow service was discontinued in October 2010.
Aer Lingus is again Shannon's main airline, with 3 flights daily to London Heathrow, 4 flights per week to Boston and 3 to New York JFK. Services to Paris and London Gatwick by the airline have been discontinued. They operate an Airbus A330 maintenance base at Shannon and have one Airbus A320 permanently based at the airport, with an Airbus A330 stationed from March–December each year.
The last quarter of 2012 saw a timely resurgence for Shannon, with new services announced for Philadelphia (US Airways) and Chicago (United Airlines), a return of Aer Lingus to JFK and Boston, and Delta to JFK, giving Shannon direct services to five US airports for 2013. It remains, along with Dublin Airport, as one of only two airports in the Republic of Ireland with flights to and from the US and, from a transatlantic perspective, services the entire west coast of Ireland.
In November 2012, Aer Lingus also confirmed a new three times weekly service to Faro, Portugal, operating from May to September with an Airbus A320, strengthening Shannon's summer-sun destinations.
In December 2012, it was announced that Shannon Airport would separate from the Dublin Airport Authority. On 31 December 2012 at 11:59 pm, Shannon Airport became a publicly owned commercial airport and is now operated and run by the Shannon Airport Authority plc.
The first passengers through the newly autonomous airport arrived on the Aer Lingus EI-110 flight from JFK at 5:08 am on 1 January 2013 (New Year's Day). Flybe have announced a daily year-round flight to Glasgow to commence from 1 May 2013. Shannon Airport also welcomed the early launch of the Aer Lingus summer schedule to the US as a vote of confidence in transatlantic services at Shannon.
On March 21, Ryanair announced a new twice weekly route to Alicante to commence June 5 for the summer months. This brings Shannon's total to 33 seasonal scheduled summer routes.
Duty Free 
In 1947 the "Customs Free Airport Act" established Shannon as the world's first duty free airport. Shannon became a model for other Duty Free facilities worldwide. Although "Duty Free" shopping is not applicable anymore for flights within European Union passengers can still buy goods, but will have to pay the normal taxes. For most goods passengers can buy the same goods regardless of their destination: the only difference will be made in charging VAT at check-out. An exception to this are tobacco-products as all tobacco products sold in Ireland need to have an excise stamp, while this doesn't apply for "real" duty-free tobacco. As the prices for tobacco are among the highest in Ireland there is little or no demand for tobacco at Irish airports for EU flights.
Transatlantic services to the USA 
The 1960s proved to be difficult for Shannon Airport. With the introduction of new long range jet aircraft, transit traffic fell sharply as the need to refuel at Shannon became unnecessary.
In 1966, Aer Lingus began service between Shannon and Chicago, with a stop in Montréal, Canada. This route was taken out of service in 1979.
In 1969, it was announced that a new government agency, Aer Rianta (now the Dublin Airport Authority), would be given responsibility for Shannon Airport. Passenger numbers at the airport reached 460,000 that same year. With the increase in passengers and the introduction of the Boeing 747, it was decided that a new enlarged terminal was needed. The first commercial operation of a 747 took place in April 1971, while the new terminal officially opened in May of that year. In 1974, a major increase in fuel prices had a dramatic effect on transit traffic.
The 1980s saw a number of new airlines arrive at Shannon. Aer Rianta and the Soviet airline, Aeroflot, had signed an agreement and by 1980 Aeroflot had established a fuel farm at Shannon. The fuel farm was to hold Soviet fuel and soon Aeroflot planes were stopping at Shannon to refuel en route to destinations in South, Central, and North America. The number of Aeroflot flights went from 240 aircraft in 1980, to 2000 aircraft by 1991. In 1989, US carrier Delta Air Lines launched flights from Shannon and Dublin to Atlanta and New York-JFK. The New York route was dropped after 9/11 but has since re-commenced.
During the 1990s the airport began to struggle. The bilateral agreement with the United States was renegotiated resulting in fewer planes being required to stop over in Shannon (see Shannon Stopover below). However, 1996 saw the beginning of Continental Airlines flying between Dublin, Shannon and Newark, New Jersey.
With the demise of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Aeroflot began to suffer which was a big loss to the airport. Aeroflot had brought 250,000 passengers a year through Shannon.
Shannon began to rebound in the late 1990s with the success of the Irish economy, the improving situation in Northern Ireland, and an influx of American tourists. By the end of the decade Shannon had passengers numbers of 2.2 million and in the year 2000, a new £40 million terminal extension was opened.
Shannon continued to expand during the Celtic Tiger years with many services operated to the US and Canada.
Delta Air Lines operated to Atlanta until 2007. They pulled out of Shannon in 2008, but resumed service to New york JFK in 2010. The service now operates daily from May to November.
American Airlines flew to Shannon from Boston and Chicago daily until 2007.
Aer Lingus suspended services between Shannon and Chicago in 2008.
US Airways operated daily services to Philadelphia until 2008 using Boeing 757-200 aircraft. In November 2012, the airline announced that they will return to Shannon in Summer 2013 with a daily Philadelphia service operating for the Summer only.
United Airlines announced a significant boost to Shannon in October 2012 when they announced a Summer service to Chicago, operating 5 times weekly.
Shannon stopover 
The first Air Services Agreement with the United States in 1945 only permitted flights to Shannon, and only permitted Irish airlines to serve Boston, Chicago and New York. In 1971, the US Civil Aeronautics Board announced that unless US planes were allowed to operate into Dublin Airport they proposed to ban Aer Lingus from landing in New York. Eventually an agreement was reached which allowed one US carrier, TWA, to service Dublin Airport through Shannon.
In 1990, the US-Ireland bilateral agreement was changed to allow Irish airlines to serve Los Angeles, and additional US airlines to serve Dublin via Shannon. An amendment in 1993 allowed airlines to provide direct transatlantic services to Dublin, but still 50% of transatlantic flights had to originate or stop over in Shannon.
In 2005, an agreement was reached regarding a transitional period. Beginning in November 2006 and ending in April 2008, the agreement eliminated restrictions on cargo services. For passenger service, it reduced the stopover requirement and allowed Irish airlines to serve three additional US destinations. Furthermore, it was agreed that at the end of this period, no restrictions would be placed on scheduled services between any airport in the one country to any airport in the other.
In 2007, the European Union and USA announced that an agreement had been reached on an open skies aviation policy. The agreement came into effect from March 30, 2008. This effectively led to the complete abolition of the Shannon Stopover, although this would have happened under the 2005 agreement anyway.
Seasonal suspension of Aer Lingus' transatlantic routes 
Aer Lingus announced on 15 June 2010 that it would be suspending services from Shannon to Boston and New York (JFK) for 11 weeks from January 2011. This is also happening during the Winter 2011–12 season and the upcoming Winter 2012–13 season. The flights will operate between three and four times weekly for the rest of the year with an A330-200 aircraft.
Military stopover issue 
Shannon Airport has a history of foreign military use. A large part of its business in recent years has been military stopovers, currently almost all American; however, the airport was also frequently used by the Soviet military until the 1990s, since Ireland, having a traditional policy of military neutrality, was not a member of NATO. There were some restrictions, such as being unarmed, carrying no arms, ammunition or explosives, and that the flights in question do not form part of military exercises or operations. Shannon saw military transports throughout the Cold War and during the first Gulf War.
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the Irish government offered the use of Shannon to the US government. When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, the government still allowed United States armed forces to use the airport. This caused much controversy and was the subject of protests and a challenge brought to the High Court. In January 2003, a woman took an axe to the nose cone and fuel lines of a US Navy jet; however, a trial ended in her acquittal. In February 2003, a group known as the Pitstop Ploughshares damaged a United States Navy C-40 Clipper aircraft at the airport. They were tried three different times and ultimately ended up also being acquitted.
A 2007 survey found 58% of Irish people opposed the use of Shannon for prosecuting the Iraq war.
As of November 2008, approximately 1.2 million troops have passed through Shannon since the beginning of the Iraq War. This has generated significant revenue for the airport and has offset the loss of flights from the end of the Shannon stopover and the general downturn in the global aviation industry.
In 2012/2013 the military flight contracts are held by Omni Air International, which uses Boeing 767 and 777 aircraft, Sun Country Airlines which uses 737-800 aircraft and North American Airlines which uses Boeing 757s.
Rendition flight allegations 
On 6 December 2005, the BBC programme Newsnight alleged that Shannon was used on at least 33 occasions by United States Central Intelligence Agency flights, thought to be part of a US policy called extraordinary rendition. The New York Times reported the number to be 33, though referring to "Ireland" rather than Shannon, while Amnesty International has alleged the number of flights to be 50. The United States has denied these allegations.
The current airport terminal was opened on the 27 March 2000 by the then Minister of Transport Mary O'Rourke. This facility has 40 check-in desks, 5 baggage carousels and 14 boarding gates (including 6 airbridges). There are nearly 40 aircraft parking stands. The car-parks can hold over 5,000 cars.
Much of the older landside section of the airport has been renovated with new 'Shannon Airport' branding. An airside area renovation and passenger separation project was completed in Summer 2010.
Aer Rianta International, a subsidiary of Dublin Airport Authority, has its head office on the grounds of Shannon Airport. When Eirjet existed, its head office was located on the grounds of Shannon Airport.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance 
In 1986 a United States border preclearance facility was opened at Shannon, eliminating the need to go through immigration on arrival in the United States. In November 2008, it was announced that customs and agriculture inspections would be added, making Shannon the first airport in Europe to offer this service. This is expected to be a big incentive to attract airlines and corporate jets to Shannon. Shannon Airport spent €21 million on the facilities. To have these facilities put in place a two story, 7,000 square metre extension to the main terminal building has been constructed. The facility opened the morning of 5 August 2009. The passengers on Continental Airlines flight CO25 from Shannon to Newark were first to use the facilities which give Shannon a unique status.
On March 1, 2010, Shannon Airport became the first airport outside the U.S. to offer U.S. Customs and Border Protection to private aircraft. The US Customs and Border Protection facility that opened at Dublin Airport in January 2011 is used for commercial aircraft only.
British Airways operates a twice-daily business class-only flight from London City Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York with a stopover in Shannon. This allows them to take off from the short runway of City airport which is located in the London Docklands area, stop for fuel in Shannon while passengers go through pre-clearance and arrive without the need to go through immigration or customs.
Airlines and destinations 
Shannon's unrestricted runway, round the clock operation, efficient handling and the presence of many of the major global logistics firms provide a wide range of air cargo options. The significant clusters of export-oriented industry in the West, Mid West and South of Ireland in particular depend on Shannon's cargo services and facilities for timely access to their major markets.
operated by Bluebird Cargo
|London-Luton, Nottingham/East Midlands|
operated by Air Contractors
|Cork, Dublin, Manchester, Paris-Charles de Gaulle|
|TNT Airways||Dublin, Liège|
operated by Star Air (Maersk Air)
Handling Agents 
- Sky handling partners
- Shannon Air Link Ltd
- Signature Flight Support Shannon
- Universal Aviation
- US Alliance Flight Support Ltd
- Westair Aviation
In 2011, passenger numbers at Shannon declined by 7.4% from 1,755,885 (2010), to 1,625,549 (2011).
In 2012 passenger numbers at Shannon declined by 230,000 to 1.39m from the 1.62m who passed through Shannon in 2011.
Passenger numbers 
|Rank||Airport||Passengers Handled|| % Change
|3||New York City||109,359||22.5|
|4||Newark, New Jersey||107,379||9.9|
|9||Palma de Mallorca||37,625||23.9|
|Source: Central Statistics Office (Ireland) |
Ground transport 
Shannon Airport is the end destination of the N19 national route, which connects to the N18/M18 Limerick–Ennis–Galway route. A dual carriageway section of the N19 was finished in 2004, bypassing the town of Shannon, and a new interchange and dual carriageway north to Ennis were completed in 2007 on the N18 (M18).
|Means of transport||Operator||Service||Destination||Website|
|- Bus||Bus Éireann||343||Limerick||www.buseireann.ie|
The airport is also served by local taxis. There is a taxi rank located outside the arrivals entrance.
Car hire is available in the arrivals hall of the terminal building, with eight car rental firms located at the airport.
Private hire coaches and busses are available from many operators such as Eirebus  but these need to be pre-booked and can transport you to any destinations throughout Ireland.
Shannon Airport offers both short-term and long-term parking within the airport with over 5,000 spaces available. All car parks operate 24 hours and are regularly patrolled by Airport Police.
Incidents and accidents 
Due to the location of Shannon, it receives a large number of emergency stopovers.
- 16 July 1943 - a British Overseas Airways Corporation de Havilland DH91 Fortuna crash-landed short of the Runway 14 threshold. There were no injuries.
- 18 June 1946 - an Aer Lingus Douglas DC-3, Charlie Alpha, on a domestic flight from Rineanna to Dublin crashed shortly after takeoff with only minor injuries reported.
- December 28, 1946 - TWA Lockheed Constellation Flight 6963 crashed attempting to land at the airport.
- April 15, 1948 - Pan Am Flight 1-10, a Lockheed Constellation crashed attempting to land at the airport.
- 5 September 1954 - Lockheed Super Constellation KLM Flight 633 from Amsterdam to New York, using Shannon as a refueling stop, crashed just after takeoff into a mudbank adjacent to the airport. 28 people on board died.
- 15 July 1956 - a Swissair Convair CV-440-11 crashed on approach to the airport due to pilot error. The aircraft was on its delivery flight from San Diego to Zürich via New York, Gander and Shannon. The crash killed all four crew on board.
- 14 August 1958 - Lockheed Super Constellation KLM Flight 607-E from Amsterdam to New York crashed into the Atlantic Ocean after a refueling stop at Shannon.
- 26 February 1960 - an Alitalia Douglas DC-7C crashed after taking off from the airport, killing 34 people out of 52 passengers and crew on board.
- 10 September 1961 - a President Airlines Douglas DC-6 crashed into the river Shannon after taking off from the airport on a flight to Canada. The disaster killed all 83 passengers and crew, one of the worst air disasters in Ireland's history.
- 30 September 1977 - an Interconair Bristol 175 Britannia 253 overran the airport's runway after severe vibration on the approach. The left wing broke off and caught fire but none of the six crew were injured in the crash.
- 20 June 1979 - American Airlines Flight 293 lands in Shannon after being hijacked.
- On 17 July 2011, Aer Arann ATR 72-212 EI-SLM was damaged beyond economical repair when the nose gear collapsed on landing at Shannon Airport. The aircraft was operating an international scheduled passenger flight from Manchester Airport, United Kingdom. There were no injuries amongst the four crew and 21 passengers on board.
- PDF). AIP and charts from the Irish Aviation Authority. (
- Irish Aviation Authority - Flight Statistics
- Dublin Airport Authority Annual Report 2010
- Irish Independent
- Cigaretteprices.net website homepage with an overview of international prices for a box of 20 Marlboro cigarettes. Visited: 9 November 2012
- History of Shannon Airport
- Growth - Shannon recovers passenger throughput
- Aer Lingus will suspend Shannon, US flights
- High Court of Ireland Decisions
- [dead link]
- Almost 200,000 troops use Shannon
- Car Parking
- Airport Facts
- "Contact Us." Aer Rianta International. Retrieved on 7 July 2010.
- "home." Eirjet. 1 July 2006. Retrieved on 15 September 2010.
- New agreement for US-bound air passengers
- New ORD service with UA
- Shannon Airport Traffic Figures
- Shannon Passenger numbers down
- CSO Ireland Database - Air Passenger Movement
- "Accident description: Lockheed Constellation N86505" retrieved 23 Sep 2010
- "Clipper Empress of the Skies Accident Investigation Report" retrieved 23 Sep 2010
- "Avions de Transport Regional 72-212, EI-SLM Shannon Airport 17 July 2011 FINAL REPORT". Dublin: Air Accudent Investigation Unit. Retrieved 15 May2013.