The volcanic ash clouds have  stopped US troops en route to Iraq and Afghanistan passing through Shannon Airport.

The carrier Omni Air, is diverting all flights  to Oslo because of  disruption from the ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano.

The decision has a major impact on the Shannon region economy.

A Shannon-based catering firm, EFG, stated that it has laid off 30 of its 75 staff.

"It is a significant part of our business and nobody can put a time frame on how long Omni Air will be out of Shannon. But they are happy with us and happy with the airport," said EFG managing director Ean Malone.

Omni Air was sending three flights per day through Shannon. About 20,000 troops were going through Shannon each month this year.
More than 1.5 million US troops have gone through Shannon over the past decade.

"It is something that is beyond our control with the volcanic ash cloud," a spokeswoman for Shannon Airport said. "The airline has told us that they will be coming back. We just don't know when at this time."

However, protesters hoped it would become long term. Dr. Ed Horgan stated he hoped the move would "become permanent as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, the consequences of the ash cloud on Irish airports have been clear.

Air traffic at Dublin was down 26.8 percent, Cork was down 25.3 percent, while Shannon recorded a massive 57.1 percent


U.S. troops rest in Shannon AirportGoogle Images