Every storm has a silver lining – For Shannon Airport at least

Every storm has a silver lining – For Shannon Airport at least


Image: Airbus

While across the country, people are battening the hatches, airlines are cancelling flights and pilots are being forced to divert to other airports, one intrepid flight crew has taken to the skies at Shannon Airport especially because it’s so windy.

An Airbus flight-test crew has brought a new A330-800NEO (new engine option) jet to Shannon to avail of the strong winds. The jet carried out crosswind landings and rejected take-offs (RTOs) as part of a rigorous certification process which must be completed by all new aircraft models.

The jet, registration F-WWTO, was flown in especially from the Airbus factory in Toulouse and is the original test aircraft that carried out the A330-800’s maiden flight in Toulouse in November 2018.

Shannon Airport’s Director of Operations Niall Maloney said: “The safety of passengers is our primary concern at Shannon and we were delighted to facilitate the training exercise.

Storm Lorenzo created a great opportunity to get real flight experience in stormy conditions. It isn’t the first time that Shannon has facilitated such training, in fact all new aircraft models since the construction of the Concorde have used Shannon at some time for cross wind training. It is true what they say every cloud, or in this case storm, has a silver lining.”

Several other new Airbus aircraft models have visited Shannon in recent years for similar training.

In August, Airbus sent its newest oversize transport plane to Shannon for another historic visit for the airport. The company’s next-generation BelugaXL airlifter, which is due to enter service later this year, came to Shannon to undergo crosswind training and rejected take-offs.

In 2006, the largest passenger plane in the world, the Airbus A380 superjumbo, undertook cross-winding training in Shannon.

At 3,199m, the runway at Shannon is the longest in Ireland and can cater for all the largest aircraft in operation.

Airbus’ new BelugaXL oversized transporter arriving at Shannon in August – File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019