THE 75th anniversary of the first ever transatlantic flight to arrive in Shannon was marked over the weekend.
On October 24, 1945, an American Overseas Airlines service arrived at the base, in what was the first ever scheduled transatlantic commercial passenger flight to land on Irish soil.
Shannon Airport and American Airlines, which is the original airline’s predecessor, joined forces at the weekend, to mark the auspicious occasion.
The flight landed on the same Shannon Airport campus that exists today, building on the success already achieved across the estuary at Foynes, which had been receiving 'flying boat' arrivals since the late 1930s.
The historic service at Shannon commenced 75 years of transatlantic flights into the airport but, moreover, triggered an industrial and tourism revolution across the Mid-West, West and South of Ireland, and today the activities of Shannon Group, which operates the airport, supports 46,000 jobs.
Mary Considine, the chief executive of the Shannon Group said: “Given the year that we are having, it's more important than ever that we recognise this historic moment in Irish aviation and economic development. That flight paved the way for this region to become a transatlantic gateway, giving rise to foreign direct investment and tourism, which together have become huge drivers of our regional and national economy. It's particularly timely that we recognise this today as it shows the importance of aviation and Shannon generally and how essential it is to protect this asset and ensure it takes up where it left off once we start to emerge from Covid-19."
Shirley Carroll, regional manager at Oneworld Alliance Hubs, Europe: “American Airlines and Shannon Airport have a shared heritage that goes back 75 years to a hugely important moment in aviation for Shannon and Ireland. It’s a key moment in the extraordinary Irish-US relationship as it facilitated air travel between the two and the building of unbreakable economic and diplomatic ties. We’re very proud of our airline’s heritage in this.”
She said American Airlines, which has been forced to cancel its Philadelphia service this year, looks forward to restating this service once the pandemic is in the rear view mirror.