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Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune

Shannon may face US pre clearance competition

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has warned of possible competition from other airports in the EU who may be granted customs and immigration Pre clearance by the US authorities in direct competition with Shannon and Dublin airports.

Up until now, Ireland is the only EU country where passengers can pre clear US customs in both Shannon and Dublin airports. That means that passengers travelling from Shannon and Dublin Airports to America can save up to two hours of queuing at immigration in the United States by pre-clearing in Ireland. Passengers simply collect their bags once they land in the US and are free to go.

The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) said pre clearance in Dublin attracted passengers from the UK and other European countries, many of whom use Ireland as a transit stop for pre clearance. Clune was speaking after the US department of Homeland Security named 11 airports this weekend as potential locations for preclearance operations.

“Over the weekend, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security named 11 airports as the latest candidates for potential so-called Preclearance operations. The airports are located in nine countries, including Iceland and the United Kingdom.

“The airports announced this weekend follow 10 locations that the Department of Homeland Security identified for Pre clearance expansion in May 2015. The U.S. and Sweden signed off on an agreement to bring Pre clearance operations to the Stockholm Arlanda Airport, which was included in the first round. Stockholm should have pre clearance as early as 2019.

“Whilst I do not want to be alarmist, it is something we need to be aware of and plan for. Right now, it is a distinct competitive advantage for Shannon and Dublin but this may change if the US has pre clearance in the UK and Sweden as well,” she said..

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