Even the "normal" looking planes that come and go at Shannon Airport these days must be questioned, given the embeddedness of the US military and its contractors there.
Take the Sun Country Airlines aircraft with registration N818SY that was parked there on 17th and again on 18th January. When it arrived and departed from Shannon it had a regular Sun Country flight number (SYxxxx), but for the next legs of its journey after leaving Shannon it used the "Camber" CMB call sign which indicates that it was under contract to the US military or Department of Defence.
Why was it not identified as a US military contracted plane at Shannon?
Here are the full details of its trips on Jan 17th and 18th:
On the 17th it departed from Portsmouth USA at 5.44 am and arrived at Shannon at 11:11am as flight SY8940. It departed Shannon over 12 hours later at 12:15pm and arrived in Athens at 4:23pm. It left there at 5:58pm as CMB531 (US military contracted), and arrived in Ar Rayyan military airbase, Doha, Qatar at 10:00pm.
The next day it left the Ar Rayyan military base at 12:24am and arrived in Kuwait at 1:36am. It departed Kuwait at 3.34am, went to Athens (arrived 1.19pm), changed its call sign back from US military CMB to SY8941and arrived in Ramstein US military airbase in Germany at 8:07am. It left there at 2:06pm and arrived back in Shannon at 3:54pm (on Jan 18th). We photographed it at Shannon at 4:30pm.
The plane left Shannon just over an hour later at 5:34pm for Minneapolis/St Paul USA. This time it was flight SY8738.
Why did it identify itself as a military contracted flight at Athens, Ar Rayyan and Kuwait but not Shannon? Was it to mislead the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Transport.
On its website Sun Country Airlines lists "U.S. Military - Troop transport" as one of their customers. And for all its flights from Athens to Qatar, Kuwait and back to Athens it was using US Military call sign, and for all its flights to and from Shannon airport it was using a civilian type call sign. Along its journey it was at Ramstein, which is one of the largest US military bases in Germany, and Ar Rayyan which is a Qatari military base that is used extensively by the US military. Athens airport is, like Shannon Airport, also used for refuelling aircraft that are operating on contract to the US military. In this instance the Sun Country airline identified itself as US military contracted in Athens, but not Shannon.
There are lots of questions to be answered on this. For a start, are there even more US military contracted flights passing through Shannon than the government admits to? Or are the US military and their contractors concealing some of their troop and/or cargo movements through Shannon from the Irish authorities?
We intend to find out.