US House passes bill on new pre-clearance facilities

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The US House of Representatives has passed a bill that would require US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to consult other parties and assess potential impacts before opening new pre-clearance facilities at airports outside the USA.

The bill was introduced following the controversial opening of a pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International airport, which was unpopular among US carriers as no US airline operates non-stop service between Abu Dhabi and the USA. US carriers say Etihad Airways, the only airline to offer that service, is the sole beneficiary of the facility.

The bill will require CBP to consult stakeholders including airlines before entering into agreements with foreign governments for future facilities. It also called for CBP to address issues at US airports first, such as lengthy wait times at customs and immigrations. Any new pre-clearance locations must also be served by US carriers.

"Today's vote is an important win for the travelling public, ensuring that we focus on fixing lengthy customs lines at US gateways first, before building and staffing additional pre-clearance facilities overseas," says Airlines For America's president and CEO Nicholas Calio, welcoming the clearance of the bill in the House.