U.S. to Expand Customs Preclearance to Nine New Countries
The Department of Homeland Security announced that the United States plans to expand preclearance facilities in regions served by U.S. airlines.
The plan calls for the United States to enter into negotiations that will result in new preclearance facilities in ten foreign airports located in nine countries. The list of countries includes Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Preclearance allows travelers to undergo immigration, customs, and agriculture inspection by U.S. Customers and Border Protection personnel prior to boarding a direct flight to the United States.
Proposed airports include Brussels Airport, Belgium; Punta Cana Airport, Dominican Republic; Narita International Airport, Japan; Amsterdam Airport Schipol, Netherlands; Oslo Airport, Norway; Madrid-Barajas Airport, Spain; Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden; Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Turkey; and London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport, United Kingdom.
The department said that the airports were identified working with the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of State. Over two dozen foreign airports expressed interest in opening preclearance facilities.
The airline industry in the United States came out strongly behind the plan. “Expanding air preclearance is a tremendous step forward for improving the overall travel experience for our customers,” said Robert Isom, the COO of American Airlines, the world’s largest airline.
“The addition of these pre-clearance airports will help increase safety and security while improving the passenger experience with shorter wait times and quicker connections on arrival in the U.S.” said Nick Calio, CEO of A4A, the trade association representing major U.S. airlines.
The agency said that the United States and the individual governments of the host countries would soon begin negotiations that could result in a final air preclearance agreement.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)