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Ten years of US preclearance at Shannon Airport

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This month marked the tenth anniversary since the introduction of US preclearance services at Shannon Airport, €40m has been invested by Shannon Group at the Airport in half the amount of time. 

Established at the airport on August Bank Holiday weekend 2009, Shannon was the first airport in Europe and the Middle East to offer this service, which allows passengers bound for the US to preclear agriculture, customs and immigration controls at Shannon and arrive in the States as a domestic passenger, removing any further processing stateside and saving them considerable time as a result in particular for onward connections.

For the airlines it opened up the use of both domestic gates and terminals for these flights. The first airlines to use Shannon Airport in the early days of US preclearance in 2009 were US Airways (now American Airlines), Continental (now United Airlines), Delta, Aer Lingus and British Airways.

In 2010, Shannon Airport had another first, becoming the first airport in the world to offer full US preclearance for business jets. Today, Shannon remains the only airport in North America, Europe and the Middle East providing this unique service, and the only airport in the world offering passengers screening to both European and US. Transportation Security standards in the one location.

July 31st marked the 230th anniversary of US Customs Services with Acting CEO of Shannon Group, Mary Considine observing the close relationship between them and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). “Over the years we have worked closely with our colleagues in CBP and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) on process improvements and operational efficiencies and on the 1st June this year CBP extended its opening hours service for business travellers and private aircraft and offer an out of hours service to our customers when required.

“In addition, last year CBP introduced a new facial technology system to become the first airport outside the Americas to use facial biometrics to verify the identity of travellers about to enter the US.”

“Shannon Airport has a proud history of world first achievements, whether it’s the establishment of the world’s first duty free shop in 1945, or subsequently the first full preclearance service for private aircraft, our customers and community are central to everything we do. Over the past 5 years we have invested over €40 million at the airport, upgrading our runway, refurbishing our Transit lounge, adding new dining and shopping facilities, enhancing our departure gates. We have also added a new Wild Atlantic Way feature, opened Europe’s first sensory room and an Aviation gallery to name just a few. Our intention is not to rest our laurels but to build on this into the future,” Ms Considine concluded.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, and A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to -

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