A new high tech system could halve security screening time at airports by combining EU and US checks into one check-point. The single checkpoint concept is being trailed at Shannon Airport.

Shannon is the first airport in the world to trial the new pre-clearance checkpoint, which was developed as part of the EU funded XP-DITE project. XP-DITE is a collaborative project involving 13 research organizations, universities, security companies and airports across Europe, funded by the European Union FP7 research program.

The new approach being pioneered at Shannon – Europe’s first US pre-clearance airport – replaces the two separate checkpoints which are used at present with just one. The Shannon trial will show how a checkpoint can be designed to comply simultaneously with two different sets of regulations (EU and the US TSA systems).

Niall Maloney Airport Operations Director said, “Shannon Airport is delighted to have been selected to trial this new state-of-the-art technology. Passenger security is of paramount importance to us and being able to trial a new system that combines the highest level of security screening together with a customer focused operation is a win-win. The elimination of the additional security measures in the U.S. Pre-clearance facility in particular is a significant advancement in improving both our passengers' and customer airlines' experience.

“We have literally just started trialing the new checkpoint and already we are getting positive feedback from our airport customers availing of the pre-clearance by the removal of a checkpoint. We are delighted to have been chosen to be part of the XP–DITE project team and would like to thank the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport and the U.S Transportation Security Administration for their support in putting in place these enhanced arrangements.”

Mark van den Brink, XP-DITE Project Coordinator said, “Designing and evaluating airport checkpoints at system level gives the possibility to assess new approaches to airport security which could maintain a high level of security while improving the experience for passengers and reducing costs for operators.”

Pre-clearance allows passengers to complete immigration and customs formalities, as well as security screening for US domestic flights, before they travel to the USA.  This means that they can land at any airport in the USA, not just the busy International ones, they can take domestic flights without rescreening and their luggage can be checked through to their final destination.  Ten major airports across Europe and around the world are looking to adopt the pre-clearance approach, which could benefit some 20 million US-bound passengers per year.

The trial will run at Shannon Airport from now for a ten-week period.

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