70% of EU corporate jets cannot use Shannon US Pre Clearance – Breen

March 12th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Chartered business jets excluded from facility

More than 70% of European corporate aircraft cannot use Shannon’s brand new US Pre Clearance facility because it currently excludes chartered aircraft, Fine Gael Deputy Foreign Affairs Spokesman and Clare TD Pat Breen has warned.

Deputy Breen said today (Thursday) that only 30% of European business traffic are able to use the facility due to an anomaly, which he urged the Taoiseach to address while in Washington next week.

“Shannon Airport is losing much-needed business following the news that the newly-opened US Pre Clearance facility is only available to owner-operated business jets.

“The availability of the US Pre Clearance facility for business jets is a very welcome development. But it now appears that over 70% of European business traffic cannot use the facility.

“The service is only available to owner-operated aircraft but excludes chartered aircraft. This restriction also means jets are restricted in the number of US airports which they can fly into. This anomaly must be resolved as soon as possible.

“I understand that both US and Irish officials are meeting to discuss the matter. I hope it can be resolved swiftly.

“However, Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin must raise this matter directly with President Barrack Obama on St Patrick’s Day in Washington. An immediate meeting with the US Secretary of State Janet Napolina must also be convened.

“The availability of US Pre Clearance facilities is a major boost for Shannon Airport, but it is essential that this unique opportunity is capitalised upon.”