Pre-clearance at airport is 'critically important' for our country, says DAA boss
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities at Dublin Airport are "critically important" for the country, according to the chief executive of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) Kevin Toland.
Mr Toland said he was "very confident" that the services provided by US officials at the biggest gateway to the country would not be removed or downgraded. "US business is critically important for our airport and for the country. It's been growing very, very strongly. That's very well understood," said Mr Toland.
"It's a source of growth. It's one of the reasons that US FDI [foreign direct investment] is in this country."
Mr Toland was speaking yesterday at the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin.
Asked if he would have concerns that if the CBP service at Dublin was downgraded or removed, it would damage Dublin Airport's strategy of building a transatlantic hub, Mr Toland insisted it would not be an issue.
"I'd be very confident that that won't happen. US pre-clearance is critically important for this country, critically important for the Government, critically important for our airport, and critically important for the US," he said.
The DAA has been helping to transform Dublin Airport into a European transatlantic hub, with airlines such as Aer Lingus using the CBP pre-clearance facility as a marketing tool for passengers it lures from the UK and other countries in Europe, such as France and Italy.
Last year, Dublin Airport handled a record of just under 28 million passengers. Almost three million of those were transatlantic passengers, the bulk of them travelling to and from the United States.
Mr Toland said the pre-clearance facility at Dublin was a "critical point of competitive advantage for Ireland and Dublin Airport".
Shannon Airport - now independent of the DAA - also has a US pre-clearance facility.
In 2013, the DAA received planning permission to refurbish and extend the existing US CBP facility at Dublin Airport, adding an extra 487 sqm of space.
Mr Toland declined to comment on the review of US CBP facilities here that is planned by the Government.