Shannon Airport Authority Figures: Only Part of the Story

On January 16th, Shannon Airport Authority confirmed that 256,353 US troops used the airports facilities in 2008. According to figures from the airport authority, the final quarter of 2008 proved to be the busiest quarter for the airport in terms of troop traffic last year.

The full breakdown of "official" troop numbers passing through the airport in 2008 were as follows:

Jan 26,859

Feb 18,830

Mar 21,019

Apr 21,377

May 17,891

Jun 16,625

Jul 22,849

Aug 20,160

Sep 20,677

Oct 23,210

Nov 24,414

Dec 22,452

Reports in the Irish media have said that this generated some 7 million in profits last year and that this brings the total profits from troop traffic since the start of 2005 to 30 million (see http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0117/1232059656555.html). The immorality of the war in Iraq should be enough to make us hang our heads in shame; instead we have an airport authority and government who proudly advertise the fact that "neutral" Ireland has been profiteering from the killing, terrorising and displacement of millions of innocent people from their homes.

The profits being quoted in the mainstream media are questionable however. There is no mention of the cost of air traffic control and other services provided - or of the huge security bill being footed by the Irish taxpayer. On Feb 8th, for example, as 9 peaceful demonstrators gathered hundreds of metres from the airport entrance, 18 Gardai stood talking or sat in their cars keeping warm. What/who are they protecting, and who is paying for it? Shannonwatch has been keeping detailed logs of all troop carrying aircraft that have used the airport since August 2008. Most, but not all, of these use the RCH or 'Reach' callsign (as is the norm for aircraft operating within, or on behalf of, Air Mobility Command of the US Air Force). The airplanes of the main transporting company, Omni Air International, are a regular sight at the airport, but it is also not uncommon to see other aircraft opeating on behalf of the USAF passing through.

Shannonwatch is refining its data on an ongoing basis, using what is known about the US troop carriers that pass through. The figures presented on our flight reports pages are regularly updated and revised based on the most recent analysis and cross checks. It should be noted however that the figures quoted are for flights identified and logged; the exact number of troop carriers passing through Shannon may be even higher in any given month.

Anyone who is interested in the full flight log details can contact shannonwatch (at) gmail (dot) com .

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