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 today 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.
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.”
The new service will finally give Irish exporters a dedicated freighter service to the US. Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is a global leader in the movement of freight, mail and goods and had over 1.5 million tonnes of cargo throughput last year alone. As well as being well connected to US road and rail networks, the airport offers connections to over 200 cities across the US and the world, opening a whole range of new distribution channels from Shannon.
The development has been described as heralding a “new era for bilateral relations between Turkish Airlines and Shannon Airport”, according to Clare Fine Gael Deputy Pat Breen.
“I have been heavily involved with discussions with Turkish Airlines and has been working closely with the Shannon Airport Authorities and the Turkish Airlines. I met Dr Temil Kotil, CEO of Turkish Airlines in Ankara in order to explore the opportunities for services into Shannon. My understanding from those discussions is that they are interested in growing business at Shannon,” he added.
“For the cluster of pharma, medtech and IT companies in the Shannon Region, the development of services in both directions would greatly enhance exporting opportunities for these companies. The use of air travel over road transport is a much more efficient way of doing business for these companies. “Also, West Bound, the United States is Ireland’s top air cargo market and there is strong demand for direct freighter services in the region.
Mational Aviation Policy which is due to be finalised shortly designates Shannon Airport as a centre for the development of air cargo. The Airport is ideally positioned to become a centre for air cargo as it is uncongested, has a long runway, and has a cluster of pharma, medtech and ICT manufacturing companies located in the region,” added Deputy Breen.