Kuwait Airways flight KU-117 which flies three times weekly to New York City will now make a transit stop at Ireland’s Shannon airport, airline authorities have announced. The return leg of the service will not stop at Shannon.
The almost 13 hour-long flight which operates on Fridays, Sundays and Wednesdays has flown directly between Kuwait and New York up to now.
The change in the flight programme is part of efforts to provide maximum security and safety for the passengers, Kuwaiti News Agency KUNA reported.
Airline authorities have assured passengers that the flight is expected to be on the ground for no longer than two and a half hours.
Passenger and baggage screening by the US’s Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) unit will be carried out during the stopover.
The change in the flight route has also been put in place due to renovation work at Kuwait International Airport.
Kuwait Times reported that recently the Kuwaiti Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) received a request from the United States to expand security measures and additional inspections at Kuwait International Airport.
The request came amid US concerns regarding the possibility of terrorist operations in light of the troubled security conditions in the region, said DGCA operations manager Saleh Al-Fadhaghi.
In 2007, Kuwait Airways made fuel stops at Shannon airport. However the Boeing 777-200 service to New York presents a chance for the airline to increase its footprint in Ireland.
“We are delighted to be working with Shannon Airport on this initiative,” said Kuwait Airways chief commercial officer Philip Saunders.
“The entire airport community has responded quickly and pro-actively to our requirements allowing this change in the service to be implemented seamlessly.
“We are looking forward to being able to offer the time-saving US Preclearance service at the earliest opportunity and to a successful partnership with Shannon Airport,” he added.
Shannon Group CCO Andrew Murphy added that the stopover could open doors for further opportunities between Kuwait and Ireland.
“Securing this transit operation opens up the possibility of further developments with the airline. We will be working closely with them to explore further opportunities,” Murphy said.