On this day (May 18) in 1939, the first aircraft landed at the newly opened Rineanna Airfield which was later to become Shannon International Airport.
The aircraft was the Irish Air Corps Aero Anson A43.
Less than two months later the first passenger aircraft landed at Rineanna on the 11th July 1939 a Belgian airliner (a tri-motor Savoia Marchetti S-73 of Sabena). The Crew and eight passengers alighted from the aircraft and were cheered by the assembled workmen before driving off in cars to Foynes, where they were to board Pan American’s ‘Yankee Clipper’ Boeing 314 flight to the United States the following evening.
News quickly spread of the presence of the Belgian airliner and during the course of the following day hundreds of sightseers crowded into Rineanna. By the time the Sabena crew had returned from Foynes to Rineanna at 9.15pm that evening there were almost 500 people gathered to watch the aircraft take off on her return journey to Croydon onto Brussels.