Secretary Napolitano and Ambassador Rooney announce expansion of pre clearance at Shannon Airport
US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and US Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney have announced the expansion of DHS pre clearance at Shannon to include private aircraft from March 1 2010.
“Working together to enhance aviation security is vital to ensuring the mutual safety of the United States and Ireland,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Expanding preclearance services at Shannon Airport underscores our commitment to protecting the safety and security of our citizens while streamlining legitimate travel and commerce between our two nations.”
“The relationship between Ireland and the United States is one of the strongest in the world,” said Ambassador Rooney. “Opening preclearance operations to private aircraft at Shannon is just one example of how our countries are working together to put in place programs that further strengthen this bond. The anticipated increase in flights through Shannon as a result of this service expansion will give an economic boost to the region around Shannon airport. We look forward to continuing our work with the Irish government on preparations for the opening of the preclearance facility at Dublin airport later this year.”
Preclearance inspection allows DHS to screen travelers before takeoff through essentially the same process a traveler would undergo upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry. Until now, aircraft arriving in the US have been restricted to landing at airports which offer full USCBP clearance. From March 1 next, aircraft departing Shannon will have a choice of 200 destination airports in the US.
Time will tell just how successful the service will be. The processing time for passengers and crew on the ground in Shannon will take significantly longer than a fuel stop only. Most GA aircraft transiting Shannon are on a 45 minute turn around with the occassional "splash 'n dash" which can be accomplished in 20 or 25 minutes. It will be interesting in the coming weeks to see how many will be prepared to pay the time penalty on the ground for the luxury of a more direct routing to the US.