*Passengers boarding the first flight. Photograph: Arthur Ellis

SHANNON AIRPORT’s new service to Chicago with United Airlines has taken flight.

Passengers boarded the Boeing 757-200 aircraft from 08:50 on Friday morning for departure at 09:30 for the first daily seasonal Chicago service from Shannon bound for O’Hare International Airport.

Mary Considine, speaking at a gate celebration to mark the occasion said it was “a significant boost for Shannon Airport”. The CEO of the Shannon Airport Group labelled United Airlines as one of Shannon’s valued airline partners.

“Chicago is an important U.S. gateway and is a really positive addition to the daily services we already offer from Shannon to New York, Boston and Newark. With a seat capacity of over 42,000, this strategic Chicago route not only benefits leisure and tourism travellers, but this direct service also provides important additional business connectivity for our customers,” she said.

Ms Considine added, “With our US pre-clearance facilities, passengers flying from Shannon can arrive in the U.S. as domestic passengers, saving valuable time, especially for connecting flights. The enhanced security screening system we installed during the Pandemic has eliminated the need to remove liquids and electronics from cabin bags, halving the time for our passengers in this area. This provides an added benefit for U.S. bound passengers, as along with this, Shannon is the first airport in the world to provide a combined EU/TSA security screening system, meaning passengers only have one security check, making their journey through Shannon even easier”.

Head of Corporate Sales UK and Ireland with United Airlines, Martina Coogan said, “As the only U.S. airline connecting Shannon with the United States, we are excited to launch our new service to United’s hometown hub in Chicago”. She continued, “This is great news for travellers in the west of Ireland, providing even greater travel choice and the possibility to connect via our U.S. hubs to over 100 destinations across the Americas,” said Ms Coogan.

United Airlines began operating from Shannon Airport in 1998, and since then have carried over 2.2 million passengers. The airline previously operated a Shannon/Chicago service from 2013 to 2017. At that time, the airline operated five-times weekly. The 2023 service operates seven-days-a-week and has the capacity to generate an additional 42,000 passengers through Shannon Airport. The airline’s flight to Chicago builds on existing transatlantic nonstop daily seasonal services from Shannon to New York, Newark and Boston.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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