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U.S. to open customs post in AUH (for Etihad)

 
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747-237
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:29 am    Post subject: U.S. to open customs post in AUH (for Etihad) Reply with quote

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323309604578429034096838230.html?mod=googlenews_wsj#

U.S. to Open First Customs Post in Middle East

April 17, 2013

Amid strong objections from U.S. airline pilots and carriers on both sides of the Atlantic, White House officials have agreed on a customs facility in Abu Dhabi that will allow passengers from there to bypass long lines upon their arrival in the U.S.

The agreement between the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates, which was firmed up this week, calls for the Department of Homeland Security to set up a preclearance post at Abu Dhabi International Airport—the first of its kind in the Middle East.

Under the arrangement, which mirrors similar facilities in Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean, passengers would go through U.S. customs and immigration before takeoff and avoid delays at their destinations.

The sole beneficiary of the move would be Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways, which operates the only non-stop service from that fast-growing hub to the U.S., and has been expanding its routes along with its Persian Gulf peers, Emirates in Dubai and Qatar Airways.

Industry officials said the state-owned carrier pushed for formal approval of the plan during this week's White House visit of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed the plan, initially proposed in late 2011, and said it would increase aviation security. Proponents have tried to deflect criticism by pointing out that funding is expected to come partly from the U.A.E.

But the move comes as airlines and foreign governments are chafing over U.S. budget cuts that have led to increasing delays for passengers trying to clear U.S. customs.

The Association of European Airlines, a trade group, said its members had been forced to change flight schedules because the lines at U.S. airports had become "unacceptable"

U.S. and European airlines also argue that the post gives Etihad an unfair competitive advantage. Etihad has daily flights to New York, Washington and Chicago, while no U.S. carriers currently serve Abu Dhabi.

The Air Line Pilots Association, North America's largest pilot union, also reiterated its opposition, calling it a "misguided plan" that envisions "unjustified use" of U.S. tax dollars and will set an unwelcome precedent.

The union called on Congress to stop implementation of the agreement because it puts "U.S. airlines and American jobs at great risk."

The association accepted previous preclearance facilities because they are all served by at least one U.S. carrier, and a large portion of the people passing through them take their next flight on a U.S, airline.

Airlines for America, which represents major U.S. carriers, protested that Abu Dhabi should not qualify for a post based on traditional U.S. requirements and called the arrangement a "pay to play scheme."

Abu Dhabi would only be the 16th airport to secure customs preclearance. Ireland's Shannon Airport became the first outside North America when a post was opened in 1999. It was later joined by Dublin. U.S. Customs and Border Protection also operates facilities at nine Canadian airports as well as posts in Bermuda, Aruba and the Bahamas.
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The_Goat
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surprising! Why AUH and not DXB, which presumably has more US bound passengers?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Goat wrote:
Surprising! Why AUH and not DXB, which presumably has more US bound passengers?


AUH being the capital city of the UAE probably helps?
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Nimish
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Goat wrote:
Surprising! Why AUH and not DXB, which presumably has more US bound passengers?


Probably DXB has not requested for it? It requires a separate demarcated part of the terminal for US ops - sterile after you pass US immigration/ security. I've used this at DUB - it was pretty cool, and you whizz through customs anyway at your destination, so it worked out really well.
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747-237
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.ch-aviation.ch/portal/news/18264-eu-us-airline-groups-protest-us-recent-deal-with-the-uae-on-pre-clearance#disqus_thread

EU, US airline groups protest US recent deal with the UAE on pre-clearance
20APR2013

Etihad Airways has been dragged into a row between the Association of European Airlines (AEA) and its US counterpart, Airlines for America (A4A), over plans by US authorities to open a customs pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Both the AEA and A4A claim the deal, signed recently between the US and the UAE and which will involve the stationing of US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers in Abu Dhabi thereby allowing passengers to clear US immigration procedures when embarking in the Emirate, will give Etihad a "competitive advantage" while at the same time "being detrimental to a level playing field in the transatlantic aviation market." The AEA went on the claim that the measure in Abu Dhabi has a distortive knock-on effect on the EU-US transport market, as at present, in order to avoid long security queues during rush hours at US ports of entry, European airlines are forced to change their flight schedules, putting "connectivity, commercial opportunities and passenger convenience" at stake. Echoing the AEA, the A4A called on the US Department of Homeland Security to drop the plan, saying it “disadvantages US citizens and other visitors who are not adequately served by the CBP today, often waiting hours to clear customs when returning to the United States.”
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airindia787
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meanwhile, staffing at regular US entry points is getting cut due to the sequester. Gotta love the CBP. When the CBP can hardly keep the US operations running, why are they expanding the pre clearance program?
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

airindia787 wrote:
Meanwhile, staffing at regular US entry points is getting cut due to the sequester. Gotta love the CBP. When the CBP can hardly keep the US operations running, why are they expanding the pre clearance program?

I'm pretty sure Etihad/Abu Dhabi will be footing the bill, not the American taxpayer.

You get to pay for pointless wars against phantom enemies instead. Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now Jet "Guests" can complete their customs and immigration formalities in Abu Dhabi, thus making their "guestiness" even more "guest-astic."

Meanwhile, "Guests" at Mumbai can continue to experience the glories of Indian culture at the hands of "Guest-phobic" GOI immigration and customs babus/clerks/havaldaars who will make them feel even more "guest-safe" by stamping their Guest boarding passes every 10 feet.
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Jeh
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jaysit wrote:
Now Jet "Guests" can complete their customs and immigration formalities in Abu Dhabi, thus making their "guestiness" even more "guest-astic."

Meanwhile, "Guests" at Mumbai can continue to experience the glories of Indian culture at the hands of "Guest-phobic" GOI immigration and customs babus/clerks/havaldaars who will make them feel even more "guest-safe" by stamping their Guest boarding passes every 10 feet.


The fun thing is, at Bombay airport, there's a lady just down the corridor from the immigration counters, whose job is to check that your passport's been stamped. And another man just after Customs to check the tear-off slip at the bottom of the Disembarkation Form you handed in at the immigration counter.

I think we should set up an Indian pre-clearance post at JFK or EWR and insist that it includes all of these jobsworth posts. Twisted Evil In fact, we can get the lady who checks the stamp in your passport to go train the Americans to perform this critical security function.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeh wrote:
The fun thing is, at Bombay airport, there's a lady just down the corridor from the immigration counters, whose job is to check that your passport's been stamped. And another man just after Customs to check the tear-off slip at the bottom of the Disembarkation Form you handed in at the immigration counter.

Iv seen this at most Indian airports. Typical Indian inefficiency/mentality.
If they were so bothered about people sneaking past when noone is looking all they need to do is design the counters better. But nnnnnoooooooo Rolling Eyes
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iah87
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Abu Dhabi govt is paying for this, hence the pre-clearance. DXB does not have this facility, all they have is special US security, which is present in BOM and DEL for all nonstops to US. All passengers still have to pass immigration (unless you have a trusted traveller card - still need to scan your passport and must not have any check luggage) upon arrival at US airports.
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iah87 wrote:
(unless you have a trusted traveller card - still need to scan your passport and must not have any check luggage) upon arrival at US airports.


Huh? I have Global Entry and check bags all the time. No issues. Just scan passport at kiosk, grab bags, and walk out.
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You still have to pass through the customs inspector, however the chances of being stopped for further inspection will be very low. When you go through traditional inspectors in the immigration booth , they mark your customs form with a number or a sign, which tells the customs inspectors to select you for further inspection. For Global Entry passengers, there is no mark so it is very unlikely you will be stopped.
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iah87 wrote:
You still have to pass through the customs inspector, however the chances of being stopped for further inspection will be very low. When you go through traditional inspectors in the immigration booth , they mark your customs form with a number or a sign, which tells the customs inspectors to select you for further inspection. For Global Entry passengers, there is no mark so it is very unlikely you will be stopped.


True, but this happens whether or not you have checked bags.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/first-flight-from-abu-dhabi-pre-clearance-facility-marks-sad-day-for-us-airline-industry-2014-01-24?reflink=MW_news_stmp

First flight from Abu Dhabi Pre-clearance facility marks sad day for U.S. airline industry

Jan. 24, 2014

Today marks a sad day for the U.S. airline industry, as the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association (SWAPA) learned that the first flight from Abu Dhabi to the United States was operated utilizing the Customs and Border Patrol's Pre-Clearance facility located at the Abu Dhabi airport.

Both the U.S. airlines and their associated labor groups opposed the investment of U.S. taxpayer money into a facility that will only benefit foreign carriers. No U.S. airline presently operates a single flight at Abu Dhabi, and the lone benefactor from this is the state-owned Etihad Airlines. The traffic rate at the Abu Dhabi airport for U.S.-bound passengers is less than 200 per day on average, making this a poor investment of U.S. taxpayers' increasingly limited resources.

The facility was funded earlier this month through the $1 trillion-plus omnibus spending bill, a gigantic measure which received very little debate. The Abu Dhabi facility provision received very little attention — let alone the scrutiny it deserves — particularly while there remains pending legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would block funding for this facility. H.R. 3488 introduced by Rep. Patrick Meehan [R-PA7] has 142 bipartisan co-sponsors. With this measure in motion and despite an increasing throng of voices in opposition, the Department of Homeland Security still opened operations with this first flight today.

"Southwest pilots stand together with industry and labor partners to express our dismay at the federal government's regrettable actions in choosing to open this unnecessary pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi," said Captain Mark Richardson, SWAPA President. "We are more than willing to compete against any airline in the world, including state-sponsored Middle East entities. However, Middle East entities that already enjoy generous state sponsorship should not receive additional government support from the U.S. taxpayer. We oppose our own government tilting the playing field further against U.S. airlines."
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

U.S. Customs and Border Protection opened an Abu Dhabi base on Jan. 24, the first in the Middle East and the second outside the Americas after Ireland. Another post is planned in Dubai within a year

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-13/u-s-border-extends-to-dubai-tempting-travelers-drained-by-wait.html
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star*gold
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apparently Etihad is advertising in Tamil fm channels in Chennai about finishing all US customs and immigration formalities before boarding the flight to the US.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the US customs clearance is only for their morning departures for the time being, so the second daily flight to JFK which is operated by a Jet 77W, does not get this benefit for the time being

Karan
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Karan69 wrote:
the US customs clearance is only for their morning departures for the time being, so the second daily flight to JFK which is operated by a Jet 77W, does not get this benefit for the time being

Karan


Any idea why this discrimination? Is it because it's 9W?
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nimish wrote:
Karan69 wrote:
the US customs clearance is only for their morning departures for the time being, so the second daily flight to JFK which is operated by a Jet 77W, does not get this benefit for the time being

Karan


Any idea why this discrimination? Is it because it's 9W?


Hahaha! You'be beginning to sound like a certain group of people:)

I'd guess it's because of shift timings and the Jet-operated flight happens to be the later one.

It's (or used to be) the same in Ireland. Flights after a certain time were not pre-cleared.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jasepl wrote:
Hahaha! You'be beginning to sound like a certain group of people:)


You missed the sub-text - "is it because it's 9W and they refused to pay for the facility" Twisted Evil

I guess shift timings might be the reason, but surely customs/ INS can be staffed round the clock if needed?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shift timings are more the reason as it is the only departure to usa at that time.

Nimish,, the aircraft is a 9W leased one, it is still an EY flight as of now

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tedreed/2014/10/14/note-to-abu-dhabi-on-pre-clearance-be-careful-what-you-wish-for/

At the Abu Dhabi preclearance facility, which the U.S. aviation community stubbornly resisted, delays are rampant and are creating operational delays for Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates.

During the past 60 days, 1% of the Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles arrived on time, according to FlightStats.com. The LAX flights had an average delay of 60 minutes. Between Abu Dhabi and Chicago, 10% of Etihad flights arrived on time; the average delay was 52 minutes. Between Abu Dhabi and Washington Dulles, 35% of Etihad flights arrived on time and the average delay was 56 minutes.

Also, according to FlightStats.com, between Abu Dhabi and JFK, one flight arrived on time 21% of the time, with an average delay of 56 minutes: a second flight arrived on time 18% of the time, with an average delay of 56 minutes.

The delays are due almost entirely to delays at the pre-clearance facility, said an aviation source who asked not to be named. FlightStats overall ranks Abu Dhabi as a “very low” delay airport, and flights to cities outside the US perform far better.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^^ What is this due to? Sounds like a bad mess up.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

747-237 wrote:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/tedreed/2014/10/14/note-to-abu-dhabi-on-pre-clearance-be-careful-what-you-wish-for/

At the Abu Dhabi preclearance facility, which the U.S. aviation community stubbornly resisted, delays are rampant and are creating operational delays for Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates.

During the past 60 days, 1% of the Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles arrived on time, according to FlightStats.com. The LAX flights had an average delay of 60 minutes. Between Abu Dhabi and Chicago, 10% of Etihad flights arrived on time; the average delay was 52 minutes. Between Abu Dhabi and Washington Dulles, 35% of Etihad flights arrived on time and the average delay was 56 minutes.

Also, according to FlightStats.com, between Abu Dhabi and JFK, one flight arrived on time 21% of the time, with an average delay of 56 minutes: a second flight arrived on time 18% of the time, with an average delay of 56 minutes.

The delays are due almost entirely to delays at the pre-clearance facility, said an aviation source who asked not to be named. FlightStats overall ranks Abu Dhabi as a “very low” delay airport, and flights to cities outside the US perform far better.


Well AUH wanted this pre-clearance and they thought it would be pretty...looks like it isn't. Even if it is the same agency doing the screening - delays at destination will be perceived very differently than at origin.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nimish wrote:
jasepl wrote:
Hahaha! You'be beginning to sound like a certain group of people:)


You missed the sub-text - "is it because it's 9W and they refused to pay for the facility" Twisted Evil

I guess shift timings might be the reason, but surely customs/ INS can be staffed round the clock if needed?


The contract with US CBP was only for limited hours and not round the clock. That would increase the costs.

As it stands now, it is not a smooth running operation and if the delays continue, AUH will probably rethink, especially if they are not getting any advantage.
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