The extension of pre clearance facilities to private aircraft at Shannon is a huge step forward for the airport and the region as a whole.

Today is a groundbreaking good day for Shannon Airport. From today, pre-clearance will apply to US bound private aircraft using Shannon.

I believe this development has the potential to bring more business to Shannon and help rejuvenate the airport and the region.

We know that already six such private jets access Shannon each day. With the right support we could substantially build upon this already existing business base.

Shannon is the only airport outside America offering this facility. Government now needs to get behind this fact and engage in a aggressive marketing campaign within business media in the US.

We also need to target companies directly who use Shannon for private transatlantic travel. In other words, government needs to get word out there that Shannon is playing a leading role in offering these services. The availability of good accommodation providers in the region means also that we can become a hub for executive travel through Shannon. Corporate travellers can now clear customs and emigration before entering the US.

Due to the economic slowdown there has been a drop in this business, but the potential to develop it exists. At this point, government must also move speedily to proceed the development of full pre-clearance for cargo. Such a development would greatly compliment the proposed international cargo hub for Shannon airport and help sustain and attract jobs to the region. There cannot be any more delay from government on this.