Aer Lingus Outlines Position On Use of Shannon Pre-Clearance Facilities

From: Dunphy Public Relations
Published: Sun Sep 13 2009

The Shannon pre-clearance facility, which opened in early August, carries out customs, immigration and agricultural checks by US officials at the airport.

Minister of State Killeen has received confirmation from Aer Lingus Chairman Colm Barrington outlining the airline's decision to avoid using the Shannon service until the Dublin facility is also in operation. The Co. Clare Deputy said he wrote to Aer Lingus seeking clarification on its use of the pre-clearance facility after the three US carriers Delta, Continental and US Airways signed up to use it.

According to Minister of State Killeen "Mr. Barrington informed me that to use the Shannon facilities in advance of next year would make Aer Lingus's transatlantic operations at Shannon even less economical than they are today.

He added: "Aer Lingus has said it is generally supportive of the custom and immigration pre-clearance facilities at Shannon and Dublin provided that they enhance the travel experience of their passengers, help to streamline their operations and do not impose additional costs on the airline. They are generally comfortable on these issues, but have pointed that there are still a few issues to be ironed out."

In a written response to a representation from Minister of State Killeen, Mr. Barrington stated: "As regards Shannon, we have made it clear that we will not be in a position to use this facility until such time as the Dublin facility is also in operation. At the two relevant US airports, JFK in New York and Logan in Boston, Aer Lingus operates into international terminals. If we used the Shannon CBP facility then we would have to operate Shannon originating flights into domestic terminals. This would put an extra strain on our operations and would incur extra costs, which particularly in the case of Shannon originating flights, would make these even less economical than they are today.

"The other airlines that you refer to in your letter are US carriers and so already have both international and domestic facilities at the US airports that they operate into from Ireland (Newark in the case of Continental Airlines). When the Dublin CBP facility is up and running (which we are told will be mid next year) then we will be able to move all our operations to domestic terminals in the United States (subject to our being able to break existing leases and agreements) and so expect to be in a position to avail of the facilities.

"I am sure that you are aware of the difficult state of the global airline industry and the perilous financial situation that Aer Lingus is in. We want to continue to provide an alternative air service for Irish consumers and maintain as much connectivity as possible. To do this Aer Lingus must run its operations on a truly commercial basis. If we don't then we won't survive", concluded Mr. Barrington.


Notes to Editor:
- High-resolution images of Tony Killeen, Fianna Fail TD for Clare, and Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, with special responsibility for Forestry, Fisheries and the Marine, may be downloaded from
- For further information please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy PR at or 086-8534900

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