Proposed changes to the preclearance agreement between Ireland and the United States of America has been welcomed by Shannon Airport.
It is expected the enhancement of Shannon’s US preclearance service for its airline customers, their passengers and in particular its business jet customers will come into effect in the coming months. This follows the decision announced by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney and Transport Minister Shane Ross on Wednesday to approve more personnel and resources.
Additional staff and capacity is now required to allow growth to continue due to increased requests. The costs of the expansion will be funded by Irish airports, and not the Exchequer. Airlines could face increased charges arising from these costs, but this will be a matter for the airports. Costs for passengers are not envisaged to rise due to these changes. It was also agreed with the US that it will assist with the cost of assigning an extra officer to Ireland. US authorities will also continue to fund a baseline level of service, on a par with that which is offered at present.
Niall Maloney, Shannon Airport Director of Operations said it will the airport to extend its service. “Currently our US Preclearance operates from 09:00am to 17:00 daily, but with the new US agreement we will now be able to extend these hours and offer an out of hours service. This is something which our executive jet customers in particular have requested. They see the time saving benefits as it allows them to fly directly to their home airport from Shannon, rather having to go to a designated clearance airport in the US first before making the onward flight to their home airport.
“In August 2009 Shannon became the first airport in Europe to have full US Preclearance and we operated a US Pre-inspection facility since 1986. Shannon Airport was the first airport in the world to offer full US preclearance for private aircraft and is still the only airport in either Europe or the Middle East with this unique service,” Mr Maloney added.