US Troops Land at Shannon as Trump Bans Flights from Ireland

  • Posted on: 15 March 2020
  • By: shannonwatch

Ireland is justifiable almost in lock-down to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Yet hundreds of US soldiers travelling from coronavirus affected areas in the Middle East, Europe and the USA are landing at Shannon Airport, entering the airport terminal building, and mingling with civilian airport passengers and airport workers, including a number of Aer Lingus and Ryanair flights. US President Trump has banned all flights from Europe including Ireland, but not flights taking US soldiers through Shannon.

A Shannonwatch member went to Shannon Airport this morning knowing that some US military flights were due. He photographed three Omni Air planes.

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  • Omni Air N351AX landed at 8.39 am coming from Kuwait with a stop at Sofia in Bulgaria. Bulgaria has at least 43 cases of Coronavirus, one death, and has declared a state of emergency. Kuwait has at least 112 cases of coronavirus. N351AX has taken off for the USA after spending over 2 hours at Shannon.
  • Omni Air N819AX landed at Shannon at 8.49am having arrived from Wheeler Sack air base NY. Since yesterday this plane has been in Kuwait, Sofia Bulgaria, Pope air base in NC, Fort Wort TX and Robert Gray air base TX as well as Wheeler Sack air base. It was still at Shannon airport at 11.30 am this morning.
  • Omni Air N477AX has been at Shannon airport for the past week for some reason - perhaps it is being decontaminated - it has been at US air bases in Japan, Guam, US and UK a few days before it landed at Shannon on Sunday 8 March

He went to Shannon Garda station to request action to address this. There he was handed me a form they have prepared for peace activists to fill out requesting US military planes to be searched. I modified the form to say that he was requesting Gardaí at Shannon to prevent the US soldiers on board N351AX and 819AX from entering Shannon Airport terminal building so as the prevent the spread of the coronavirus. He explained that one of the planes had come from Kuwait and Bulgaria, both locations with significant numbers of coronavirus cases, the other had come from the USA where coronavirus was also spreading. On the form he emphasised that this was an urgent public health matter. 

The genuine civilian planes at the Shannon terminal building at the same time as the US military troop carriers included Aer Lingus flight EI-3672 from Shannon to Edinburgh and Aer Lingus Flight 381 Shannon to London Heathrow and Ryanair flight FR102 Shannon to London Stanstead. The passengers and crew were being put an unnecessary risk.