18 May-Shannon Airport

Shannon Airport is located in Co Clare on the north bank of the Shannon Estuary on the west coast of Ireland. It is approximately 24km west of Limerick City and is the most western of all European airports. Shannon Airport, which is one of the three primary airports in Ireland, catered for over 1.7 million passengers in 2015.

Transatlantic aviation in the Shannon Estuary first commenced on July 5th 1937 with the first flight from a seaplane base at Foynes on the south side of the estuary. During World War II Foynes became one of the busiest civilian airports in Europe. The Irish Government began a survey in 1935 to search for a site which could cater for both seaplanes and landplanes. The survey concluded that Rineanna, where Shannon Airport is now located was the most suitable site. However developments in aviation meant that landplanes would be the future of aviation. As a result Rineanna was developed as an airport for landplanes only.

Following completion of the airport the first aircraft, an Irish Air Corps plane, landed at Rineanna in May 1939. This was followed by the first passenger flight, a Belgian airliner, on July 11th 1939. The passengers and crew were transferred to Foynes for their flight to America. The airport was named Shannon Airport in 1942. Though the development of Shannon Airport was hindered by World War II the first scheduled commercial flight passed through the airport on October 24th 1945.

Shannon Airport became the gateway between Europe and America. In 1947 Shannon became the first duty-free airport in the world. As aviation technology developed aircraft could bypass Shannon. This combined with other difficulties meant passenger traffic at Shannon was adversely affected. Through various initiatives Shannon began to rebound and passenger numbers increased to over 3.6 million in 2005. A decline in passenger numbers began the following year and did not begin to recover until 2013.

The first aircraft, an Irish Air Corps Aero Anson A43, landed at Shannon Airport (Rineanna) in the year 1939 On This Day.

Shannon Airport by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1961-09-04 15:03:11

Shannon Airport by Freelancer1 on 2009-02-03 06:58:50

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