Kuwait Airways ends Shannon stop arrangement

Kuwait Airways ends Shannon stop arrangement

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A Kuwait Airways Boeing 777 arriving in Shannon in the carrier’s old livery – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016

Shannon Airport has lost one its biggest technical stop customers after Kuwait Airways was granted permission to fly directly to the United States.

Kuwait Airways has a made a daily stopover at Shannon as part of security arrangements agreed between the airline and the US Government. Flight KU-117 was a three times weekly service when the arrangement first began.

When the Kuwait City to New York JFK operation first commenced, authorities in the US were unhappy with security procedures at Kuwait so instructed the airline to remedy the issue. In the meantime, the airline reached agreement with Shannon Airport to stop there en route to the US.

A Kuwait Airways in the carriers new livery lines up for departure to JFK – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

Since then, the carrier made a planned stopover at Shannon where passengers, crew, their baggage and cargo were security screened by US Customs and Border Protection staff before the flight continued to New York. The aircraft was also refueled during the scheduled stop.

Kuwait Airways has now confirmed however that yesterday’s flight was the last to stop at Shannon after the airline was cleared by US authorities to fly directly to New York.

The carrier apologised on Twitter to customers who had been ‘forced’ to take a transit route through Shannon.

While the flight did not take on passengers at Shannon and was always going to be a temporary arrangement, the loss of the service will come as a blow to the airport particularly ground based companies that have enjoyed spin-off business over the last three years.

It’s not clear however whether the withdrawal will have an impact on jobs at those companies which provided grounding handling and security services. A comment is awaited from ground handling agent  Swissport.

One airport worker said: “We don’t know, we just don’t know. We are waiting to hear but we hope there will be enough work to tie us over until the start of the summer scheduled in March. We’ll have to wait and see.”

In a statement, Shannon Airport said: “We would like to thank Kuwait Airways for using Shannon Airport over the last two and a half years and we will continue to work with the airline to explore future opportunities.”

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016
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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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