An additional ten airports worldwide have been added to the approved list of airports to offer preclearance facilities to passengers travelling to the US.
The majority of airports which are in Europe, include Amsterdam Schiphol, London Heathrow, Manchester, Madrid-Barajas, Brussels, Stockholm Arlanda and Oslo. Tokyo Narita, Punta Cana and Istanbul Ataturk will also join them.
Dublin and Shannon are currently the only airports in Europe to offer the pre-inspection facilities which are hosted by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The preclearance facility allows passengers to clear US customs before reaching the US, allowing them to enter as domestic flyers, and enabling them to avoid lengthy immigration queues at US airports when they touch down.
David Holohan, the head of research at stock broking firm Merrion Capital, said preclearance at Manchester could pose a threat to the Irish airports.
"Manchester is an attractive regional airport out of the UK and on that basis it will be a threat. The number of passengers going through it is quite material," he said.
Manchester Airport has recently unveiled a planned £1 billion investment programme in an attempt to lure more airlines and add new routes to Asia and the east and west coasts of the United States.
Ken O’Toole, managing director of Manchester Airport, said: “We have been in discussion with the US Department of Homeland Security for some time about securing pre-clearance at Manchester Airport for passengers travelling to the United States.
“We look forward to working with both the UK and the US Governments in the coming months to ensure that Manchester remains a priority and is granted pre-clearance status.”
About half of the passengers who travel between Sweden and the US go via other European airports such as Schiphol, Heathrow and Frankfurt, so US border control at Stockholm Arlanda will ease the process and conditions for travellers between the two countires.
“US preclearance strengthens Stockholm Arlanda Airport’s role as the hub for aviation in Scandinavia. Our application has been greatly supported by both the Swedish Government and the business world, and we will now move ahead with full speed in order to attract more direct routes to Stockholm Arlanda Airport,” said Torborg Chetkovich, Group CEO of Swedavia.
American Airlines have welcomed the proposal saying that the expansion of preclearance is a tremendous step forward for improving the overall travel experience for customers.
“Pre clearance eases the congestion at our U.S. gateway airports and ensures our customers get to their destinations faster. We fully support Secretary Jeh Johnson and the Obama Administration’s plans for bringing more tourists to the United States, and we are excited to begin discussions on expanding pre clearance facilities,” said COO, Robert Isom.
Airports which currently offer the preclearance facility also include Aruba, Freeport and Nassau in The Bahamas, Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg in Canada and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.