U.S. Military Still Using Shannon Like they Own it

The December 2010 Shannonwatch logs show that the number of commercial aircraft carrying troops though Shannon Airport has remained steadily around the same numbers for the last three months. In the last month of the year 61 Omni Air International flights were recorded landed at the airport. Other commercial airlines such as World Airways and North American airlines regularly pass though Irish airspace carrying U.S. troops to and from Iraq and Afghanistan but only Omni Air lands to use the facilities at Shannon. An average of 5 to 6 troops flights per day used Irish airspace in December.

Along with the commercial planes like Omni that are chartered by the U.S. military, large numbers of U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps aircraft pass through Irish airspace. A total of 176 such flights were logged by Shannonwatch in December, with at least 25 U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corp landing at the airport. Among those that landed was a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130T (Registration 165163) on December 10th. This plane is directly involved in U.S. war activity as it provides in-flight refuelling to tactical aircraft and helicopters. A U.S. Air Force C17 Globemaster plane, registration 07-7173, was also recorded at the airport on the 12th.  This 174-ft long aircraft has a cargo capacity of a massive 170,900 lbs and is operated by the 436th Airlift Wing, a division of the U.S. Air Force responsible for providing a quarter of the of the U.S. airlift missions within battle zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

High-level U.S. military and government officials regularly pass though Shannon Airport and December was no exception. Some of the December visitors used large military-adapted Boeing C-40 aircraft in highly distinctive U.S. government colours. These included multiple flights of aircrafts 01-0040, 99-0003, 05-4613 and 99-0004. At least 10 U.S. Air Force and Navy small executive jets also transported high-level figures though the airport in December.  A number of U.S. Navy C9 Skytrain passenger aircraft also stopped at Shannon.

N54PA, which landed at the airport times in November and regularly flies to the U.S. Naval Air Station at Guantanamo Bay, continued to use the airport in December landing on both the 20th and 21st December. This aircraft is owned by VPC Planes LLC, Wilmington, Delaware and operated by Phoenix Air.

For U.S. military flight log summaries for December and the rest of 2010 see the Shannonwatch Military Logs 2010 page.

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