U.S. Customs Expands Shannon Pre-Clearance

 - June 22, 2010, 11:59 AM

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has expanded the pre-clearance program that allows business aircraft passengers and crew to complete immigration and customs procedures in Shannon, Ireland, before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. It is now available to aircraft operated under Part 135, rather than just Part 91, and the facility’s hours have been expanded to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Friday and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The last appointments of the day, however, are one hour before these closing times. Another improvement is that the U.S. officials will now allow one crewmember to remain aboard the aircraft to oversee fueling and catering, while the other crew and passengers proceed to the pre-clearance facility. When they return, the supervising crewmember is escorted to the CBP post for inspection. Part 135 operators have to give 48 hours’ notice to use the pre-clearance service; Part 91 requires only 24 hours’ notice. Once cleared in Shannon, operators have to fly into one of some 230 designated U.S. airports. Shannon Airport charges a fee of €10.50 ($13) per person to use the pre-clearance service, with a minimum charge of €150 ($185) per aircraft.