FOYNES is set to officially become an airport again after almost 70 years with the historic air traffic control tower there to be reopened for the Foynes/Shannon 75th anniversary air show next weekend.
The Foynes ATC tower will be the control base for what will be Ireland’s biggest air show this year, features 34 aircraft of all shapes and sizes.
Officers from the Air Traffic Control base at Shannon Airport will transfer over to the Foynes base for the two air shows that are set to be attended by over 10,000 people on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, July 5 and 6.
With aircraft ranging from fast jets to vintage biplanes flown by world-class display pilots, it promises to be a weekend to remember, according to its organiser Margaret O’Shaughnessy, director of the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum.
“Huge effort has gone into pulling this celebration together and rightly so as the first transatlantic flight was a historic moment for world travel. We’ve come a long way in aviation since then but it did all start here. We have never forgotten that and certainly intend to remind everyone we can about it over the course of our anniversary weekend with this really fantastic celebration.
“Foynes will be alive again in aviation terms like it was back in the day. Having the control tower active again as the control tower for the air shows really adds to the nostalgia of the event.
“Even through the war years, Foynes was an important transit point for thousands of passengers. When the Pan American Airways Yankee Clipper touched down here at Foynes on Sunday July 9 1939 with 19 VIP passengers, it started an aviation history for the Shannon Region that continues thankfully to this day,” she said.
While the air shows will be the highlight of the weekend, there will be much activity on the ground, with street entertainment and music to add to the sense of celebration at Foynes.
There will be two already completely sold-out gala dinners in the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum, the first of which takes place on the Saturday night and is being sponsored by Shannon Airport. This will be attended by Minister for Transport, Sport and Tourism Leo Varadkar plus a host of dignitaries.
Among the special guests at this and the Sunday night gala dinner, which will be attended by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, will be Jerry Dean, Mayor of Botwood, Newfoundland, from where the historic Yankee Clipper flight set out from on the historic flight 75 years ago.
The acts featuring in the air show include The Breitling Wing Walkers and the Twisters, to the only non-military formation aerobatic display team in Ireland, featuring ‘the flying dentist’ Eddie Goggins.
Also confirmed are two de Havilland Chipmunks in Irish Air Corps colours and the Aer Lingus de Havilland Dragon.