May 05, 2015: Exporters to the US are to benefit from the launch of Ireland's only direct all-cargo air service to North America following the announcement that Turkish Airlines has been granted permission to carry air cargo from Shannon to Chicago, starting immediately.
Shannon Airport first welcomed Turkish Airlines in early March this year when the airline began making refuelling stops at the airport. Turkish Airlines will now operate a new weekly Shannon–Chicago service on Fridays through its cargo subsidiary Turkish Cargo, significantly boosting options for Irish exporters, from multi-nationals to SMEs.
Chicago is a major cargo hub and the new service will facilitate exporters to the US with tight supply chain requirements, particularly those with high-value products such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals and electronics.
The service will be operated with Turkish Cargo's modern fuel-efficient Airbus A330F aircraft, which is the world's most modern mid-size freighter, capable of transporting the full range of cargo – from high-value consumer goods, to industrial equipment, to thoroughbred horses. The aircraft has a payload of up to 70 tonnes.
Shannon Group, which formally came into being last September, has identified a major opportunity for the development of an air-freight hub at the airport, since a large proportion of Irish air cargo exports currently travel by truck to UK airports due to a lack of suitable direct flights.
Commenting on the announcement, 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. Turkish Airlines is one of the fastest-growing and most successful airline companies in the world. 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."
Welcoming the announcement 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."