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Tuesday 22 January 2019

Blow for Shannon Airport as Kuwaiti stopovers end

Flights had stopped in Clare since 2016

Stock image of aeroplane
Stock image of aeroplane
Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

Shannon Airport has suffered a blow as lucrative stopovers between Kuwait and the US are set to end on Friday.

Kuwait and the US are set to resume direct air flights, which have for three years been making transit stops at the Co Clare airport.

The flight travelled between Kuwait and JFK via Shannon to allow passenger and baggage screening - but did not pick up any passengers at the Irish airport.

However the stopover, in operation since 2016, did offer additional spin-off business for the airport. Passengers were on the ground in Ireland for up to two-and-a-half hours partway into their 13-hour flight.

One source estimated that up to 5pc of the airport’s total passenger numbers came via the three-times weekly route.

The passengers were screened by the US’s Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) unit, as part of security procedures agreed between Kuwaiti and US authorities. The stopover arrangement was always meant to be temporary.

Now Kuwait’s chairman of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Humoud has confirmed that the direct flights are set to resume.

According to Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA) the DGCA chairman praised the authorities' efforts to resume the direct flights.

A spokesperson for Shannon Airport said: “Shannon’s reputation for efficient and quick handling of transit aircraft, from the smallest to the largest was the reason why Shannon was selected back in 2016 by Kuwait Airways as a temporary transit stop on their Kuwait to JFK service.

“We would like to thank Kuwait Airlines for using Shannon Airport over the last two and a half years and we will continue to work with the Airline to explore future opportunities.”

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