Today at Shannon airport at least four Omni Air aircraft on contract to the US military either have landed or are likely to land and refuel. Another Omni Air aircraft is due to land at Dublin Airport. All this at a time when travel is restricted to Irish citizens. Are any of the crews or soldiers on these aircraft being allowed into the terminal buildings and if so are they being checked for Covid-19 and if not why not?
Since the start of May we've recorded 11 US troop flights through Shannon Airport. The number may be even higher, but by logging only the flights with the designated CMB call sign we've compiled the list below.
The Camber call sign (ICAO three letter prefix, CMB) has been used since 2010 by civil aircraft on US military transportation flights.
Photograph of one of the Omni Air planes that landed in May, taken at Shannon in February 2020
All the military contracted flights we've logged through Shannon over the last 10 days have been operated by Omni Air International. According to their own website they transport US and foreign military troops, military family members, government employees and natural and humanitarian disaster relief "to the destinations they are needed most, at the times they are needed most", and they do it "with unsurpassed responsiveness".
Joint Press Statement from Nine Anti-War Organisations in Ireland
Discussions on government formation are taking place in the wake of a demand by the electorate for a serious reshaping of priorities and policies. Issues of housing, education, climate change and of course health are to the fore.
One other topic, so far absent from the debates, must finally and urgently be aired if democracy and sustainability are really to be achieved: the massive realignment of our defence and military policies over recent decades.
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.