Shannon Airport in Ireland has become the first airport in the world to trial a new pre-clearance concept developed as part of the European Union’s (EU) XP-DITE initiative.
The XP-DITE project aims to create more efficient security checkpoints at European airports, in this case by combining the European and US pre-clearance checkpoints in use at Shannon Airport. The Shannon trial aims to demonstrate how a single checkpoint can be designed to comply with two different sets of regulations, including EU and US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) systems.
This combined checkpoint is the first of its kind and has been designed so that passengers flying to the USA will no longer have to queue up twice for separate security checks. The trial will run at Shannon Airport for a 10-week period.
Niall Maloney, operations director at Shannon Airport, said, “Shannon Airport is delighted to have been selected to trial this new state-of-the-art technology. Passenger security is of paramount importance and being able to trial a new system that combines high-level security screening with a customer focused operation is a win-win. The elimination of the additional security measures in the US pre-clearance facility in particular is a significant advancement in improving both our passengers and customer airlines experience.
“We have literally just started trialling the new checkpoint and already we are getting positive feedback from our airport customers availing of the pre-clearance by the removal of a checkpoint. We are delighted to have been chosen to be part of the XP–DITE project team and would like to thank the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport and the TSA for their support in putting in place these enhanced arrangements.”
Mark van den Brink, XP-DITE project coordinator, said, “Designing and evaluating airport checkpoints at system level gives the possibility to assess new approaches to airport security which could maintain a high level of security while improving the experience for passengers and reducing costs for operators.”
Pre-clearance allows passengers to complete immigration and customs formalities, as well as security screening for US domestic flights, before they travel to the USA. This means that they can land at any airport in the USA and can take domestic flights without rescreening and their luggage can be checked through to their final destination.
Approximately 10 major airports across Europe and around the world are looking to adopt the new pre-clearance approach, which could benefit some 20 million US-bound passengers per year.