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Shannon Airport’s Aviation Gallery of model aircraft continues to grow


The second instalment of a permanent exhibition containing the world’s largest private collection of diecast model aircraft officially opens today at Shannon Airport.

The new Aviation Gallery, situated in the airport terminal building opposite JJ Ruddle’s restaurant, is open to the general public, and according to the gateway “offers a captivating journey through the evolution of aviation”.

Going further, the airport says that it “showcases an unparalleled collection, meticulously amassed over many years by Limerick man, Mike Kelly”.

The first installation opened in 2018 and houses over 1,500 model aircraft in the Departures Lounge, making Shannon Airport a true haven for aviation enthusiasts.

Mary Considine, CEO of The Shannon Airport Group, said: “Mike, through his determination and love of aviation, has managed to amass the largest private collection of model diecast aircraft in the world.

“Aviation is in our DNA at Shannon and we were inspired by the positive response we got from our airside model aircraft exhibition which we opened in 2018.

“This second instalment of the collection is a fascinating journey through the evolution of aviation. It is a way of preserving a rich aviation heritage and is in keeping with an airport that has probably broken more frontiers than any other of its size in the world.”

The new exhibition showcases over 900 model aircraft and an array of aircraft types from every corner of the world, dating back to the 1930s and extending to the present day.

This new attraction, says Shannon Airport, is a testament to the lifelong passion and endless enthusiasm for all things aviation of Mike Kelly (72), who has cherished his love for Shannon Airport since his childhood in the late 1950s.

Kelly said: “Shannon Airport holds a special place in my heart. As a young boy, watching planes take off and land ignited my fascination with aviation, and that passion has never waned.

“I am incredibly grateful to Shannon Airport for helping me share this extraordinary collection with the world. Many of these model aircraft are extremely rare and hold a wealth of history and significance. It is a dream come true to see them on display here at Shannon Airport.”

The exhibition has been a tremendous success since opening, drawing famous visitors such as aviation enthusiast and Hollywood icon John Travolta, who is a regular visitor to Shannon Airport.

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