unique customer service at shannon airport
May 27, 2019
Shannon has the westernmost US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility in Europe. By taking passengers through this Irish airport, Business Aircraft operators can avoid long queues at the Immigration in the US. Quick turn-around times are another point that speaks for Shannon. Volker K. Thomalla writes
Shannon Airport in Western Ireland has a track record of firsts: It was Ireland’s first transatlantic airport, is home to the world’s first Duty Free Shop (opened in 1947), has Europe’s first U.S. Immigration Pre-Inspection facility (since 1986) and became the first airport in Europe offering full US Customs and Border Protection preclearance.
While its relevance as fuel stop destination for airliners has diminished, it’s importance for Business Aircraft operators has increased over the years. Shannon has handled over 4,000 Business Aviation movements in 2018, most of which were for fuel stops, say Joe Buckley, Business Relations Manager of Shannon Airport. There are four FBO’s at the airport offering their services. Signature Flight Support, Universal Aviation, Westair Aviation and QA FBO Services are competing for customers. Buckley said to BART International: “We have a choice of really great FBO’s which offer very competitive pricing for handling and excellent customer service with very fast turnarounds.”
When Shannon Airport became the first airport in the world to introduce Preclearance for Business Aviation in 2010 nobody would have thought that the airport would still be the only airport with the unique feature in either Europe or the Middle East ten years later. But it still is the only airport in the region with this unique service. The revised US – Ireland preclearance agreement will allow Shannon to offer an “out of hours” preclearance service which a lot of Business Jet operators are looking for. The availability of preclearance in Shannon during evening hours will be of particular benefit to Business Jet operators flying from Europe to the US. From Shannon, Business Aircraft are allowed to fly directly to well over 200 airports in the United States. If passengers would decide to stay overnight, the region offers some of the best hotels in Ireland such as Dromoland Castle, Adare Manor or the Trump Hotel Doonbeg, all located within a short distance of Shannon.
Shannon Airport has a 24/7/365 operation. There are no curfew, slots or noise restrictions. It features a 10,500 ft (3,200 m) long 06/24 runway – the longest in Ireland. The famous Irish weather is beneficial for aircraft operators. Low maximum temperatures result in high payload capabilities. The mean maximum temperature in July is 68 °F (20 °C). On average, there are only eight days per year with snow, so de-icing is rarely required when flying out of Shannon. The airport’s fuel farm is supplied directly by ship. All aircraft stands are equipped for hydrant fuelling which guarantees minimum time on the ground. There are no uplift volume restrictions for fuel.
The airport reports that a number of large American and European corporations are starting to hold board meetings in the region which is easily accessible by Business Aircraft from both sides of the Atlantic and offers a very relaxed environment for doing business.