SHANNON Airport’s plans to develop as a freight hub have been boosted by the announcement that Turkish Airlines will operate a new service to Chicago.
It is Ireland’s only direct all-cargo air service to North America and saves exporters the time and expense of shipping product by road to airports in the UK due to a shortage of air freight options here. It is anticipated that the service - which commences immediately - will be of particular benefit for exporters of high value goods such as electronics, medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
Turkish Airlines, one of the world’s fastest-growing carriers, began making refuelling stops in Shannon in March and the conclusion of a deal between the Turkish and Irish governments on fifth freedom rights for cargo has seen that relationship expand. Flights from Shannon to Chicago will operate every Friday with the Airbus 330F capable of carrying up to 70 tonnes.
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.
“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,” Mr Pakey said.
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.”
The service has also been welcomed by regional business leaders.
“It speaks volumes for Shannon’s capability and is a welcome development for the business community not just in Shannon but throughout Ireland,” said Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber.
“Speed to market is of the essence for so many 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.”
Chicago O’Hare is a global leader in the movement of freight and had over 1.5 million tonnes of cargo throughput last year.