Airport fails to attract service on back of US Customs and Border Protection

THE Shannon Airport Authority (SAA) has failed to attract a scheduled service based on its €21 million US-Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the 12 months since the service was introduced.

The SAA also declined yesterday to provide the numbers of additional private or corporate jet traffic that has been brought about by the CBP facilities. The service was opened in August 2009. Similar CBP facilities are to open at Dublin Airport’s T2 in November.

However, Shannon Airport director Martin Moroney said yesterday: “We are very pleased with the performance of the US CBP facility at Shannon during its first year of operation. We are already seeing the benefits of CBP in terms of new and expanded services using Shannon, but a facility like this must be judged over the longer term rather than on merely 12 months of operation – particularly during a major downturn in global aviation.”

British Airways JFK business class-only service from London City airport, which must carry out a refuelling stop at Shannon because the runway at London City airport is too short, avails of the service.

Mr Moroney said the service “has been highly successful and BA chief executive Willie Walsh has said publicly that the airline is looking to expand its US services from London City and that would deliver additional business for Shannon”.

He added: “The availability of CBP has also helped expand some existing business, as Continental added four extra flights per week to its summer schedule and Delta is now offering a year-round service from Shannon.

“International gates are typically congested at major US hubs and the ability to land a Shannon flight at a domestic gate makes Shannon a much more viable option for airlines.”

Fine Gael’s Joe Carey said: “We need to be capitalising on the presence of this state-of-the-art facility in Shannon. The figures as presented are disappointing.”

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