There are no fixed plans to expand the US pre-clearance system as discussions continue over funding, confirmed US Travel Association CEO and president, Geoff Freeman. Speaking at the USTA press conference at IPW in San Antonio on Tuesday, May 23, Mr Freeman responded to a question by ITTN Executive Editor Fionn Davenport about future plans to expand the pre-clearance programme. “There is a shared interest [between the USTA and the Department of Homeland Security] in expanding the programme of pre-clearance,” he said, but admitted that concrete plans to expand the system beyond the current 15 destinations has stalled due to a lack of funding. Shannon and Dublin airports are the only airports in Europe with pre-clearance facilities, which allows US-bound travellers to pass through Customs and Border Patrol before boarding their plane to the United States. The other airports included in the programme are Abu Dhabi; Aruba, Bahamas and Bermuda; and nine Canadian airports. In his press conference, Mr Freeman also outlined the key challenges facing US travel. These include lowering visa wait times, particularly for visitors from India, Brazil and Mexico, where the average wait time is over 500 days. Other concerns include eliminating entry delays at US borders, which average around an hour; improving the air travel experience and increasing global competitiveness.