Aer Lingus finally agrees to use Shannon Pre Clearance facility – Breen

March 19th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Aer Lingus has finally agreed to use the US Pre Clearance facility at Shannon Airport after months of stalling on the matter, a move which has been warmly welcomed by Fine Gael Deputy Foreign Affairs Spokesman and Clare TD Pat Breen.

US bound passengers from Shannon have borne the brunt of Aer Lingus’s failure to sign up to the facility by enduring lengthy queues on arrival in the US.

“This is a very welcome development from Aer Lingus which will be a major boost to US passengers. The airline’s failure to sign up to using the facility was also discouraging passengers from travelling to the US with the airline from Shannon.

“Now that the Airline has belatedly signed up to use the facility, it must clarify the future of its entire Shannon operation. A large cloud hangs over the future of its maintenance facility at the airport with 70 jobs at risk. The company has also been very slow to commit to any additional routes out of Shannon.

“Comments by various spokespersons over the past few weeks indicate that Aer Lingus has no interest in developing its Shannon base. Even its US service may be limited to a seasonal basis.

“The availability of US Pre Clearance facilities at Shannon is a unique opportunity for the airport to develop business opportunities, which must be capitalised upon. It must immediately address the anomaly which means that 70% of the airport’s corporate jet traffic cannot use the facility.

“While I understand that discussions are ongoing between Ireland and the US to try and find a resolution to this problem, it is important that Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Martin raise this matter with US President Barrack Obama on St Patrick’s Day in Washington. An immediate meeting with US Secretary of State Janet Napolitano must also be convened.”