February 26, 2014
ALPA Urges House Homeland Security Committee
to Exercise More Oversight and Approval of Future Preclearance Facilities
Potential 2nd site in Dubai would further tilt an unlevel playing field for U.S. carriers and their workers
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), in a letter to House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) and Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), urged the committee to explore security issues surrounding the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The letter, which was sent in advance of today’s hearing on future priorities and challenges at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), also questions recent reports of a preclearance facility planned for Dubai International Airport.
ALPA, which is working with the committee to address current and future aviation security issues, questions the “very real threat” posed by the Abu Dhabi preclearance facility, which began pre-screening U.S.-bound passengers from the United Arab Emirates on January 24, 2014. The Association writes: “ALPA continues to oppose the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The lack of U.S. air carrier service to Abu Dhabi as well as the unusual pay-to-play precedent that is being set by CBP with regard to future preclearance facilities is extremely troubling and aggravates the immediate CBP staffing challenges at our domestic airports.”
ALPA President Capt. Lee Moak and other ALPA representatives recently traveled to the United Arab Emirates to meet CBP officials and raise concerns about the impact of future preclearance facility sites in the region that do not first and foremost serve the needs of the U.S. airline industry. At the time of the visit, ALPA was assured that there were no plans for a U.S. CBP preclearance facility in Dubai. However, recent news media reports suggest that CBP plans to open a preclearance facility in Dubai, less than 100 miles from Abu Dhabi, within a year.
“If these reports are true, and another preclearance facility is in fact planned for Dubai, then our initial concerns with respect to Abu Dhabi and the ‘domino effect’ it will have on other Middle Eastern airports are fully substantiated. If anything, this situation has highlighted the need for a clear and uniform policy on how future preclearance sites are established, but more importantly, the need for congressional oversight and approval of any such facilities,” ALPA stated in the letter.
A full copy of ALPA’s letter can be found here.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 50,000 pilots at 31 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.
CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703/481-4440 or Media@alpa.org
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