Union: No U.S. Carriers Currently Serve The Middle-Eastern City
The Airline Pilots Association Intl. said Thursday that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service should not open a pre-clearance facility in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The union said they oppose the creation of the facility because no U.S. airline operates at Abu Dhabi International Airport, so the center would benefit only foreign carriers.
On its blog 'The Partisan Pilot', the union said allowing passengers flying to the United States to clear U.S. Customs while still in the UAE would provide a competitive advantage to the foreign-flagged airlines at the expense of U.S. carriers. The union says that the policy "jeopardizes pilot's careers by strengthening a competitor and disadvantaging U.S. carriers."
The Department of Homeland Security reportedly has asked Congress for the authority to place additional pre-clearance facilities in several countries that are willing to pay to have them. The union argues that doing so would add to the competitive disadvantage of domestic airlines.
The U.S. operates 15 pre-clearance centers in Canada, the Caribbean, and Ireland. Each of the airports where such a center is found is serviced by at least one U.S. carrier, and the union says the majority of flights operating to and from them are flown by U.S. pilots.