Shannon Airport is an important gateway for travellers in west Ireland, and it's a common pick-up and return depot for car hire in Ireland. With more than 2.2 million passengers landing and taking off each year, Shannon Airport is the third-busiest airport in the Republic of Ireland.
Shannon Airport has served as an important international gateway since the 1940s, when it debuted as a first (and for a time, the only) stop for transatlantic flights from North America. It's still an important depot in this regard, and US customs officials in Shannon Airport provide pre-screening clearance so that passengers flying out of Shannon can forego immigration procedures upon landing in the US.
The Shannon Airport terminal building was opened in 2000 and offers up-to-date facilities and services. Shannon may no longer be the only gateway between Europe and North America, but it's still an important hub for anyone exploring western Ireland - particularly Limerick and Ennis.
When Shannon Airport opened to the public (1947), it became the first airport in the world to offer duty-free shopping. This was at a time when long-haul passenger service was still a new concept, and Shannon was on the front lines of innovation. Today, the airport continues to offer comprehensive retail and dining options.
These days, Aer Lingus still operates routes to New York, Boston, Chicago and even Los Angeles. Shannon's role in transatlantic traffic is changing as the ‘Open Skies' policy gives airlines more freedom in where they can land. At the same time, the airport's proving popular with discount flyers like Ryanair, so it's taking on greater relevance on the European scene.