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Secretary Napolitano and Ambassador Rooney Announce Expansion of Air Preclearance at Shannon Airport

Release Date: 
February 23, 2010

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Daniel M. Rooney today announced the expansion of preclearance services for private aircraft departing Shannon Airport for the United States beginning March 1—enhancing global aviation security by providing DHS the ability to clear passengers and their luggage prior to takeoff.

“Working together to enhance aviation security is vital to ensuring the mutual safety of the United States and Ireland,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Expanding preclearance services at Shannon Airport underscores our commitment to protecting the safety and security of our citizens while streamlining legitimate travel and commerce between our two nations.”

“The relationship between Ireland and the United States is one of the strongest in the world,” said Ambassador Rooney. “Opening preclearance operations to private aircraft at Shannon is just one example of how our countries are working together to put in place programs that further strengthen this bond. The anticipated increase in flights through Shannon as a result of this service expansion will give an economic boost to the region around Shannon airport. We look forward to continuing our work with the Irish government on preparations for the opening of the preclearance facility at Dublin airport later this year.”

Preclearance inspection allows DHS to screen travelers before takeoff through essentially the same process a traveler would undergo upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry. Preclearance travelers do not need to undergo an additional inspection upon arrival in the United States.

DHS currently provides preclearance services at 13 foreign airports and five countries. Preclearance services for commercial air travel at Shannon Airport began on Aug. 5, 2009. Passengers found to be inadmissible to the United States are denied admission prior to boarding U.S.-bound flights.

The extension of preclearance services is part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to work with international partners and the International Civil Aviation Organization to bolster global aviation security standards and procedures. Last week, Secretary Napolitano travelled to Mexico City to meet with officials from across the Western Hemisphere and the International Civil Aviation Organization—the second in a series of global meetings intended to bring about a broad consensus on improved international aviation security standards. Following the meeting, Secretary Napolitano and the participating officials issued a joint declaration on a way forward to strengthen the international civil aviation system through enhanced information collection and sharing, cooperation on technological development, and modernized aviation security standards

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