BA, as many knows, operates an Airbus 318 from London City Airport to JFK, via Shannon. The stop in Shannon allows refuelling, but also gives passengers a chance to pre-clear US Immigration and Customs and so arrive at JFK as a domestic flight. I’ve done this trip several times and it is a great way to arrive in the US. Land, taxi and in the taxi in about 10 minutes – no 2 hours queue in Immigration.
However, for about a week there have been press reports that the hours of operation of the Immigration facility in Shannon are being reduced so that it closes at 4pm and not at 7pm, as now. The late BA flight from City Airport would therefore not be able to clear in Shannon! This would be a major loss to BA.
Luckily my next flight on this service is the 1pm departure which seems to be OK.
The latest article I can find in the Limerick Leader – here
It says that BA will look at other options if Shannon is not available. It’s hard to know where these might be, as Dublin pre-clearance closes at about 4pm also.
Quote from Irish Minister for Transport:
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar confirmed this week that the US pre-clearance facilities at Shannon were being curtailed with a change in work patterns by officials based at the Mid-West airport. The DAA invested over €20 million in setting up the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) post at Shannon in 2008.
“It isn’t just a matter for us but for the US authorities. They are the ones who pay for it, they pay for the staff although the capital investment in the airports came from the government, “ said Minister Varadkar.
“The shift is being reduced, I think from 7am to 7pm at the moment, to 4pm. Three hours are being knocked off which obviously isn’t good news for the airport but it affects one small flight of 18 people.” This is understood to mean BA, whose service through Shannon in fact carries up to 32 passengers.
Watch this space!