Shannon Airport Gets Pre-clearance OK from U.S.

 - February 25, 2010, 10:06 AM

Business aircraft passengers and crew will be able to clear all U.S. customs, immigration and agriculture procedures at Ireland’s Shannon Airport starting on March 1, following the long-anticipated approval granted yesterday by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The arrangements allow non-U.S. operators and their passengers to fly direct from Shannon to any airport in the U.S. as if they were making a domestic flight. The alternative is to fly to one of a specified group of gateway airports that are approved to complete customs and immigration procedures, which, at the end of a transatlantic flight, can be a time-consuming and frustrating process at the busier airports. The pre-clearance process is conducted in a purpose-built facility that is approved by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. Business aircraft travelers will have to use this facility, which is part of the main passenger terminal, but, according to Shannon Airport spokesman Joe Buckley, it is a short process. The pre-clearance procedures were introduced for airline flights last August, and will also be available for business aviation at Dublin Airport starting next November. With its 10,500-foot runway, Shannon, on the west coast of Ireland, is well located for transatlantic technical stops.