Shannon Airport Welcomes One of the World's Largest Commercial Air Freighters to Ireland for First Time

Thursday, December 19th, 2013, Shannon, Ireland:  Shannon Airport has today welcomed the maiden flight to Ireland of one the world’s largest commercial air freighters as a Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-8Freighter (B747-8F) landed from Sydney, Australia - via Hong Kong and Dubai - this morning.

The B747-8F is a world cargo market leader, with its unmatched capacity and capability, as well as enhanced environmental performance.  The aircraft includes a high-lift, low-drag wing that enhances payload and range performance, a simplified flap system to reduce noise and maintenance costs, and what is described as the most advanced commercial aircraft engine available, the GEnx-2B.

Neil Pakey, CEO of Shannon Group plc said, “Being the first Irish airport to receive the very impressive B747-8Fis another significant moment for Shannon Airport.  This aircraft is in keeping with the rapid pace of evolution in the aviation industry as it offers greater capacity, capability as well as environmental sustainability. 

“Shannon has been delighted to welcome Cathay Pacific on a number of occasions over the years.  It is one of the world’s largest passenger and cargo airlines and the arrival here today of the B747-8F is further proof of Shannon’s place on the global aviation map.”

Andrew Roe, Cathay Pacific’s Cargo Manager for UK & Ireland said: “Cargo is a major part of our business which is carried on our fleet of 26 B747 Freighters and in the bellies of our passenger aircraft through our Hong Kong Hub to over 40 freighter and 85 passenger destinations. In addition, we operate cargo charter flights on a regular basis. Our product range offers customers an array of options from outsized and specialised freighter cargo to pharmaceutical and temperature controlled solutions.”

Shannon Group plc, which operates Shannon Airport, emerged following the separation of the Airport from the State airports’ group on January 1, 2013 this year and its merger with the activities of regional development agency Shannon Development. 

The Shannon Group plc will develop both the airport and its property assets, sustainably grow annual passenger numbers and create an International Aviation Services Centre (IASC). 

The International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) will focus on further developing the existing 40 aviation related businesses currently employing 1,600 people at Shannon into a globally significant aerospace cluster.  Among the key targets will be the development of a cargo hub at Shannon Airport to heighten access to and from existing and emerging Irish international markets.