Shannon Airport continues to be used by US military today (May 7th). They don't need to use it, yet they do. With the airport closed each night from 10pm to 5am, and with US soldiers on board the troop carriers now not allowed into the airport terminal building, it imposes additional costs and inconveniences for them to land at Shannon instead of at UK or other NATO airports or air bases.
At least three aircraft with links to companies that operated rendition flights for the CIA passed through Shannon Airport over the past few weeks. While we have no evidence to indicate that they are involved in renditions now, recent history tells us that its important to question their presence at Shannon and to get explanations about their activities.
On Monday April 13th, just after 6.30pm, a Lockheed 382G-44K-30 landed at Shannon Airport. It arrived from Eglin Air base in Florida USA. On Tuesday morning at 8.04am it took off, flying to Yerevan, which is the capital of Armenia.
The plane, with registration N2679C, has a history of involvement with CIA torture rendition flights. It was previously registered as N8183J, and is owned by Q2P LLC. It had been owned by Rapid Air Trans Inc.
The plane is operated by Tepper Aviation, Inc. which is based at the Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview, Florida.
Shannonwatch are appalled at the continuing use of Shannon Airport by US military troop carriers, despite the issuing of a stop movement order to the US military by US Defence Secretary Mark Esper on March 25th. This was intended to halt travel and movement abroad for up to 60 days in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. However, troop carriers have been landing at Shannon as recently as April 10th, 11th and 12th.
Today we're tweeting our opposition to the ongoing US military use of Shannon Airport. While coronavirus has brought most of Ireland to a standstill, with only the most essential of activities permitted, the US military is still allowed to take troop carriers through Shannon Airport.
The types of imperialist wars fought by the US are never essential. They have brought havoc, destruction, poverty and displacement to millions of people. And despite all that our government is doing to protect people in Ireland from Covid-19, they are still willing to allow this to continue with our support.
So we're asking you to go online to demand an end to this. Here are some suggested tweets. Use these or your own to demand #USMilitaryOutOfShannon.
As the realities of the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic began to become clearer, we found out on March 25th that US military personnel passing through Shannon Airport on their way to and from the US, Middle East and Europe were instructed not to get off their aircraft after landing at the airport. See Irish Examiner report quoting Shannonwatch spokesperson Edward Horgan who pointed out that Ireland was at the time justifiably almost in lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus yet hundreds of US soldiers travelling from affected areas in the Middle East, Europe and the USA were landing at Shannon airport.
Also on March 25th US Defense Secretary Mark Esper issued a stop movement order to the US military halting travel and movement abroad for up to 60 days in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus through the ranks, according to Reuters. The purpose was to make sure that they were not bringing the virus back home, infecting others, and that they were not spreading it around the military, Esper said.
At Shannon this morning an Omni Air jet registration N351AX landed for refuelling at about 09.36am. It came from Robert Gray US Army Air Base in Texas. It was still at Shannon over 2 hours later.
At least 23 OMNI Air aircraft carrying US soldiers have passed through Shannon airport since 1st March 2020, and this is ongoing on a daily basis. All these soldiers spend at least two hours within Shannon airport terminal building availing of duty free, restaurant and other facilities and frequently mingle with airport workers and other passengers using the terminal building.
For example, today 19 March 2020, OMNI Air N378AX arrived at Shannon airport from Pristina in Kosovo which is the location of US base Camp Bondsteel. Kosovo is now experiencing a medical and political crisis over coronavirus. This aircraft landed at 05.56 am refueled and took off again towards the USA at about 07.56 am.
These soldiers are being transported to and from the United States and various Middle East and European countries where the coronavirus is a very serious problem.
An incident at Shannon Airport a week ago involving damage to Omni Air plane number N477AX was in fact quite serious.
The Aviation Herald reported the following:
An Omni Air Boeing 767-300, registration N477AX performing flight OY-346 from Bangor,ME (USA) to Shannon (Ireland), landed on Shannon's runway 24 at 19:56L (19:56Z) but bounced and touched down hard a second time, tower had reported winds from 270 degrees at 20 knots maximum 35 knots and advised of turbulence at the touch down zone. The aircraft rolled out without further incident and taxied to the apron. While taxiing to the apron, tower inquired whether they had any turbulence over the touchdown zone, which the crew affirmed. There were no injuries, the aircraft sustained substantial damage however.
Ireland is justifiable almost in lock-down to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Yet hundreds of US soldiers travelling from coronavirus affected areas in the Middle East, Europe and the USA are landing at Shannon Airport, entering the airport terminal building, and mingling with civilian airport passengers and airport workers, including a number of Aer Lingus and Ryanair flights. US President Trump has banned all flights from Europe including Ireland, but not flights taking US soldiers through Shannon.
A Shannonwatch member went to Shannon Airport this morning knowing that some US military flights were due. He photographed three Omni Air planes.