Ireland has been a transformative force in global aviation for over a century, and our vision is inspired by the monumental achievements of the Irish aviators, entrepreneurs and pioneers of the past.
This dates back to John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown’s crash-landing in a bog in Galway, after completing the first non-stop transatlantic flight, from North America to Europe, in 1919 – a feat equalled by Commandant James Fitzmaurice and his crew, who took off from Baldonnel Aerodrome and completed the first transatlantic flight, from Europe to North America, in 1928.
Even the creation of the first Irish Coffee is rooted in aviation’s rich history. Joe Sheridan introduced the iconic drink to the world when he served it to an American passenger at Foynes, a flying boat base on the River Shannon in County Limerick, in 1943.
Irish aviation’s impressive momentum continued to build, and, in 1947, the world’s first Duty Free shop was opened at Shannon Airport. What began as a small kiosk staffed by one woman has since grown into the multi-billion-dollar worldwide retail industry it is today.
Tony Ryan founded Guinness Peat Aviation (GPA) in 1975, which went on to become the largest aircraft-leasing business in the world and firmly placed Ireland at the center of global aviation.
Global business and general aviation has also benefitted from Ireland’s continuous innovation and collaborative work with international agencies and governments. A lasting impact of such progressive collaboration can be found at Shannon Airport, where the world’s first U.S. Customs & Border Protection Preclearance Facility was established in 2010. The facility has evolved impressively over the past decade to provide significant time-saving and efficiency benefits for the wider industry.
Today, among its many other success stories, Ireland has cemented its position as a global leader and top destination for business and general aviation, as well as aircraft leasing and finance. This achievement can be attributed to the vast and invaluable experience that has come from more than 100 years of involvement in the industry.
Playing an Integral Role in Ireland’s Growth
It is our responsibility to honour Ireland’s aviation milestones and many more like them, as we add new chapters to this island’s storied aviation history and carry the torch forward for Irish business and general aviation.
We are fully committed to bringing our business and general aviation industry together as members of one inclusive platform, while encouraging more youth, more entrepreneurs and more of the wider community to enter and grow this sector. Together, we can play a key role in promoting Ireland and building our industry’s reputation across the world.