Facts about Shannon Airport, a Shannon Group company

Shannon Airport, Europe’s most westerly airport is 80 years old this year and is an integral part of the economy and wider community of the Shannon region. From humble beginnings with three simple grass runways in 1930’s Ireland, the County Clare based airport has grown to become one of Europe’s most unique transatlantic airports, a leader in airline innovation, and a key driver of business in Ireland’s Mid-West. Many ‘world’ first’ concepts started at Shannon.


Did you know? 

  • Every US President since John F Kennedy’s visit in 1963 has been welcomed at Shannon Group’s International airport, Shannon Airport.


  • High profile visitors to Shannon Airport include; Nelson Mandela, Princess Grace, Jackie Kennedy, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Stars who have visited Shannon Airport include Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, Gene Kelly, Bob Hope, Mohammed Ali, Mick Jagger, Tom Hanks and many more.


  • The world’s first Duty Free shop was established at Shannon Airport in 1947. It began as a small kiosk staffed by one woman and today it has grown into an award winning airport retail offering that gave birth to a multi-billion dollar global retail industry.


  • Shannon Airport is open 365 days a year and in the 1940s and 1950s it was the primary technical transit stop for all airlines crossing the Atlantic to and from Europe.


  • Shannon is home to the world-famous Irish coffee, invented by airport Chef Joe Sheridan in 1942 at the original airport location in Foynes, a sea-plane base for transatlantic flights. It was invented to keep passengers warm.


  • Shannon Airport was the first airport in the world, outside of the Americas, to provide full US Preclearance facilities (5th August 2009), making arrival in the US easier and faster. This means visitors arriving in the US are considered to be domestic passengers.


  • Shannon Airport has the longest runway in Ireland at 3,200 metres and is the only Irish airport that can accommodate the world’s largest jet, the Antonov AN 225. The enormous aircraft stands at seven stories high, with a wing span of 88 metres and has been on the Shannon runway a number of times.


  • The world’s largest private collection of diecast model aircraft is on permanent display at Shannon Airport.


  • Shannon Airport was the first airport in Europe to open an airport sensory room.


  • This year, Shannon Airport celebrates the 80th anniversary of the first passenger aircraft landing (11th July 1939) – a Belgian airliner (a tri-motor Savoia Marchetti S-73 of Sabena). 


  • In addition to its extensive European and UK services, Shannon Airport is the only airport along the Wild Atlantic Way touring route to offer transatlantic flights, with six airlines operating services to seven destinations.


For more visit www.shannongroup.ie, www.shannonairport.ie


About Shannon Group plc

Shannon Group plc is a commercial semi-state company established on the 5th September 2014. The Group, which employs more than 600 people, operates and manages three companies: Shannon Airport, Shannon Commercial Properties and Shannon Heritage, and through its IASC brand it promotes the growing aviation cluster at Shannon.

  • Shannon Airport provides world-wide air connectivity for its customers, offering direct services to destinations across Europe and North America.


  • Shannon Commercial Properties develops commercial property and manages one of the largest property portfolios in Ireland. It provides property solutions that enable Foreign Direct Investment and indigenous businesses to develop in the Mid-West and West regions. 


  • Shannon Heritage is the largest commercial operator and developer of tourist attractions in Ireland. It manages a variety of world-leading, immersive visitor attractions and evening entertainment events in Clare, Limerick, Galway and Dublin.


  • Through the International Aviation Services Centre (IASC), Shannon Group supports the development of a cluster of over 80 aviation companies based at the Group’s Shannon Free Zone.

Shannon Group’s mission is to manage and develop its aviation, tourism and property assets; to generate a sustainable commercial return; to drive excellence in safety standards and service to customers; and to make a difference to the communities it serves.

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