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.
The surge of US troops through Shannon Airport continues today, and has been going on since at least last Friday. We tracked the following military contracted planes:
- Omni Air N819AX arrived from Robert Gray air base TX, at 12.17am, flew on to Kuwait, and then on to Riyadh Saudi Arabia, back to Kuwait and will probably return the USA via Shannon later tonight.
- Omni air N828AX arrived from Kuwait at 7.21am and has since flown on to Fort Worth in Texas
- Omni Air N477AX arrived from Fort Worth Texas and took off towards the Middle East at 4.55pm this evening
- Omni Air N351AX took off at 12.52pm this afternoon and is on its way to Boeing Field in Seattle Washington state.
- Omni Air N378AX is on its way to Shannon, due later tonight, from March Air base in California via Bangor Maine.
Peace activists Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan went on trial at Court 7 Dublin Circuit Court today, 2nd March, almost four years after they entered Shannon Airport to attempt to search and investigate US military aircraft that were on their way to and from US wars in the Middle East. They are charged with causing criminal damage to the airport fence and to the runway.
This weekend there has seen a serious surge of US troops passing through Shannon airport.
On Friday and Saturday 28 and 29 Feb Omni Air US troop carriers N378AX, N477AX and N819AX passed through Shannon both ways to and from the Middle East.
Today Sunday 1 March three additional Omni Air US troop carriers are passing through Shannon, probably both ways. Their registration numbers are N828AX, N351AX and N342AX.
US troop carrier Omni Air N378AX arrived at Shannon airport yesterday for refuelling at about 3.20pm. It came from Robert Gray air base in Texas and them flew on to Kuwait, which is the main distribution point for US soldiers in the Middle East. In the meantime it now on its way back from Kuwait and will probably refuel again at Shannon airport this afternoon on its way back to the USA.
Published in Peace Planet News, Spring 2020
According to its Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland’s foreign policy is based on a set of core principles that include the maintenance of peace and security as enshrined in the UN Charter; promoting and protecting Ireland’s interests abroad; respect for and the promotion of human rights; and a commitment to the rule of international law. Over the past two decades these commitments have been eroded however. This has been particularly evident in two key areas. The first is Ireland’s participation in the European Union's Permanent Structured Cooperation initiative on security and defence (PESCO). This is the part of the EU’s security and defence policy (CSDP) in which 25 of the 27 national armed forces pursue structural integration. PESCO member states are expected to increase defence budgets, provide troops for use in EU Battle-Groups, and join “structures partaking in European external action in the military field”. The second clear and obvious breach of Ireland’s commitment to the maintenance of peace and the rule of international law is the ongoing use of Shannon Airport on the west coast by the US military. The effective transformation of Shannon into a US forward operating base in 2002/2003 was, and still is, deeply offensive to the majority of Irish people. In allowing it to be used for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, the Irish government at the time was guided more by a desire to accede to the demands of the Bush administration than to serve the interests or wishes of its own people. Almost two decades later, US military and military contracted planes still pass through Shannon on a daily basis.
Omni Air US troop carrier N846AX arrived at Shannon from Kuwait early this morning, refuelled and took off again at 5.45am heading for Pope Air force base in North Carolina.
Also heading in the opposite direction is Omni Air US troop carrier N378AX coming from Fort Hood Texas - due to land at Shannon about 2.20pm this afternoon.
Photo shows both of these aircraft together at Shannon on 15th December last.