Unique voyage as aircraft sets sail from Shannon Airport for new Glamping role

Thursday, May 05, 2016:  A decommissioned Boeing 767 became one of the most unique cargo shipments ever to sail on Irish waters yesterday as a 36 hour journey by sea from Shannon Airport to Co. Sligo got underway.

The aircraft was transferred from the runway at the weekend to Knockbeg Point on the periphery of the airport complex and today workers spent six hours loading the giant cargo onto a barge ahead of its sailing out the estuary and on up to Co. Sligo this evening.

It is destined for the Co. Sligo seaside resort of Enniscrone where it will become part of a unique glamping village being developed by businessman David McGowan,

Getting the 159-foot long aircraft, which weights 50tonnes, onto the barge was a mammoth task for a team comprising Shannon Airport employees – drawn from its engineering, security and operations divisions – in conjunction with contractors for Mr. McGowan.

With the first stage of the operation – removing the aircraft’s wings, loading it onto a truck and bringing it to Knockbeg Point – having been successfully negotiated at the weekend, the second phase began at dawn today, as a 750ton crane moved in to hoist the aircraft onto the waiting barge on the Shannon Estuary.

Deirdre Whitney, Property Manager at Shannon Airport said that Shannon has worked with all sorts of cargo over the years but never moved anything as unique as this or in this way.

“David McGowan’s enthusiasm was infectious and we were delighted to be on hand to support him every step of the way with this unique project,” she said.

“We pulled out all the stops to assist, with safety and minimizing disruption to airport customers our key priority.  I certainly never thought I would see the day when an aircraft would be put on a barge and set sail out the estuary. It will have a new lease of life which will boost not only the local economy in Enniscrone, but right along the Wild Atlantic Way.

“We wish David and his crew a bon voyage and every success with this venture.”

The plan for the plane will see it and other modes of transportation – such as buses, taxis and a train – turned into a glamping venture for visitors.