Shannon Airport News August 2020
COVID – 19
This year has seen some hard times for Shannon Airport, the Airport has seen massive changes due to the coronavirus, passenger numbers and staff have been affected greatly. The Irish government made recommendations that people only travel outside the country only when necessary, and they basically applied a lock-down in Ireland. This affected air travel in a big way at all Irish airports.
The Department of Foreign Affair and Trade recommended against all non-essential travelling overseas. Anybody travelling into Ireland via an Irish Airport from any other country has to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. This self-isolation means avoiding contact with other people and staying indoors. These measures are necessary but have had a huge effect on the travel and tourism market in Ireland.
People are required to
Cough into a tissue.
Cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Safely discard the tissue.
Wash hand regularly with hand-wash or soapy water.
Use hand sanitizer or alcohol-based hand cream.
HSE staff are in the baggage halls in Irish Airports to help passengers arriving who may need some assistance or are concerned due to COVID-19. COVID-19 signs are all over Irish airports with instructions and guidelines to follow.
The Airport remained open during the pandemic, a lot of the airlines cancelled flights due to COVID-19.
Passenger locator form
These passenger locator forms are required to be filled in if you are travelling overseas, or if you are travelling into Ireland these forms have to be filled out by Irish citizens also, this is a legal requirement from the government in Ireland. These forms can be filled out electronically, SEE THIS LINK HERE TO PASSENGER LOCATOR FORM. When you have filled out the form and completed it, you will get an email with all up to date health information about COVID-19 and some recommendations. You will need to show this email to staff at Shannon. During the 14 days self-isolation, you may be contacted with some public health info, or for tracing purposes and to verify if your information on the forms is correct.
If you need information on Wi-fi at Shannon Airport see our Wi-Fi Shannon Airport Page here.
June 2020 saw the largest cargo aircraft the Antonov AN-225 land at Shannon Airport County Clare, the aircraft made some stops in Germany, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, China and Germany before landing in County Clare Ireland. The aircraft was built and designed by the Antonov design bureau based in Ukraine. The plane made its first journey in December 1988. The aircraft was used, designed and built to carry the Soviet Unions space shuttle in-between launches and landing sites. The aircraft was involved in bringing the largest shipment of PPE equipment to Ireland via Shannon Airport. The Antonov ANN-225 landed loaded with 1 million medical gowns needed for the coronavirus outbreak in Ireland and other medical equipment needed by the HSE in Ireland. Shannon Airport has the largest runway in Ireland, this made it the perfect Airport for the Antonov to land at.
The huge aircraft has 32 wheels and has a huge six levels, and weights an additional 230 tonnes more than a large jumbo jet. Shannon Airports Operations Director said the Airport remained opened for cargo flights throughout the coronavirus pandemic, this was welcome news to everyone. Large groups of people assembled to see the Antonov ANN-225 land at Shannon, some reporters and TV cameras were also in the area to get footage of the large aircraft coming into Shannon. Some people posted photos and videos on social media of the aircraft approaching and landing at Shannon.
Call for travel restrictions to be lifted
The CEO of the Shannon Group called for the lifting of travel restrictions and especially the 14-day self-isolation measures. Mary Considine CEO called for 4 measures to be implemented from the interim report presented to the Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. Mary Considine called for the adoption of a code nationally of practice for air travel safety, and the continuation of the much need COVID-19 relief and the wage subsidy scheme to support people financially.
The Irish government were asked to set up a new aviation task force to help with the operations of Shannon Airport into the future due to such hard times in recent months. The Irish government had a special Dail debate over the issues facing Shannon Airport and the aviation industry. Aer Lingus announced in June that all cabin crew based at the Airport would be laid off until August due to the hard economic conditions, and there were no flights by Aer Lingus from Shannon Airport.
The new task force is headed by Shannon Group CEO Mary Considine, this expert task force is tasked with advising and promoting the recovery of aviation connectivity and improving aviation enterprises. The task force was set up by Minister Shane Ross. The taskforce has a number of members from the tourism sector to airlines and aviation management experts. The task force is aimed at rebuilding the aviation sector after the COVID-19 pandemic, and improving Airports and creating strong Airports again that will support the Irish economy. Irish Airports are an important part of foreign direct investment into Ireland and international trade and this is seen a major factor that the taskforce will handle over the next few years to ensure that trade and investment are maintained and managed in an effective way.
July saw most passenger flights resumed, Ryanair resumed flight services from Shannon Airport with services to Vienna, Manchester and Lanzarote. The airline resumed 16 services all from Shannon Airport, this was welcome news to staff and passengers. These measures hopefully started the economic recovery process for the Airport.
Concerned were raised in relation to US military flights landing at Shannon Airport, that this could cause more cases of COVID-19 in Ireland. A member of the group Shannonwatch Mr John Lannon stated that he got assurances that the US military troops arriving at Shannon Airport won’t be disembarking from flights. These US military flights are regularly arriving at Shannon, the troops are on civilian flights run by Omni Air International. Mr Lannon stated that they haven’t got “what they would say are categorical assurances”
Some local politicians have raised concerns about cost-cutting measures at Shannon Airport. The Shannon Group informed Airport staff of a large range of cost-cutting measures and they announced some temporary lay-offs, some career breaks and reduced working times and hours for some staff. Airport staff have been asked to take 20% pay cuts and some have been asked to take voluntary severance scheme. A total of 230 people employed at the Airport are affected. The Airport has seen passenger numbers decrease by 96% since March 2020, some people are expecting the economy not to recover for another three years. The Airport has asked staff that earn over 30,000 euros to take a pay cut of 20% from September 2020 for a period of two and a half years. This measure is necessary for large cost-cutting measures at Shannon because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More bad news for Shannon this month with the announcement that Delta airlines are to cut their service from Shannon to JFK route in New York. This is the second time an airline has cancelled routes from Shannon in recent months, United airlines axed its route from Shannon to Newark Airport in New Jersey USA. This is further bad news for the Airport that is really seeing hard times in recent months. Local people and staff have called on the Government to support for the airport after Aer Lingus stated there use of Shannon as a base may be under treat.
Fire on Omni Air International 531 Boeing 763 aircraft
Thursday the 15th of August, an aircraft belonged to Omni Air International had a fire in the undercarriage of the aircraft, this happened at 6.15 am and fire airport emergency services were dispatched to the runway and passengers on the plane disembarked safely without any issues. The Boeing 763 aircraft had to be safely removed from the runway. This incident caused the Airport to suspend all operations for a period of time.