Turkish Airlines has been granted permission to carry air cargo from Shannon to Chicago, starting immediately, and will become Ireland’s only direct all-cargo service to North America.
The new service will be operated with Turkish Cargo’s Airbus A330F aircraft every Friday, and will be capable of transporting the full range of cargo.
Shannon Airport first welcomed Turkish Airlines in early March this year when the airline began making refuelling stops at the airport.
Commenting on the announcement, Shannon Group CEO, Neil Pakey said, “The US is Ireland’s largest market for air cargo exports and this service will benefit Irish exporters as they will be able to enjoy Shannon’s uncongested cargo facilities and efficient processing. Turkish Airlines is one of the fastest-growing and most successful airline companies in the world. We’re confident this will be the start of a long and successful partnership between Turkish Airlines and Shannon Airport and we will be engaging with them about the future expansion of their operation.”
Chicago is a major cargo hub, and the new service will facilitate exporters to the US with tight supply chain requirements. O’Hare airport handled over 1.5 million tonnes of cargo throughout 2014 alone, and as well as offering good connections to US road and rail networks, the airport offers connections to over 200 cities across the US and the world.
“Shannon Group has identified a very real opportunity for developing Ireland’s leading air cargo base at Shannon. We are delighted to have this new business relationship with Turkish Airlines, one of the world’s leading airlines. Their decision to commence this service at Shannon is another step in the transformation of the airport,” said Rose Hynes, Chairman, Shannon Group.
Turkish cargo has a total of nine dedicated freighters and the carrier is planning all-cargo flights to 50 destinations by summer 2015.
“This new service provides high quality cargo services to the US for exporters throughout Ireland. I see this as the lift off for an air freight hub at Shannon. We will be looking to add to this service and to continue supporting Irish businesses in connecting with global markets,” added Hynes.