Today Emirates President Tim Clark concurred with statements made by ALPA regarding a potential Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance facility at Dubai International Airport. According to the Wall Street Journal, Clark thinks that “the long-term solution to prolonged wait times at U.S. airports would be an improvement in staff and systems by U.S. authorities at domestic Customs posts, not facilities elsewhere [a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance facility at Dubai International Airport]. ‘Surely that’s the way,’ he said.”
Clark explained that establishing a CBP preclearance facility in Dubai would create a “logistical nightmare” that would “create a far larger logistical challenge” than existing U.S. CBP preclearance facilities in locations such as Canada, Ireland, and the Caribbean.
ALPA has long cautioned that CBP preclearance facilities in the Persian Gulf would be detrimental to the U.S. airline industry and adamantly opposed the Abu Dhabi preclearance facility that began operations in January 2014.
Airlines for America (A4A) also agrees with opposition voiced by ALPA regarding preclearance facilities in the region. The airline trade group said Tuesday, “We agree [with Clark], and believe the U.S. government needs to use its resources to resolve wait times at U.S. gateways before building and staffing preclearance facilities overseas—fix it here first.”
There are currently no U.S. airlines that fly to Abu Dhabi, and ALPA asserts that preclearance facilities in locations that do not benefit U.S. carriers act only to further promote an unlevel playing field for the U.S. airline industry and its workers.