U.S. Customs Expands Ireland Pre-Clearance Program

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