Language Prohibits Use of Taxpayer Dollars To Benefit Government-Owned Foreign Competitors
Airnline industry trade organization Airlines for America (A4A) issued a statement Thursday praising House passage of an amendment offered by Representatives Pat Meehan (R-PA), Candice Miller (R-MI) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) prohibiting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from using any taxpayer dollars to conduct Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance operations at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH). The amendment was unanimously adopted during floor consideration of the FY14 Homeland Security Appropriations bill.
A4A has consistently advocated that DHS use its resources to focus on addressing lengthy wait times at several U.S. gateway airports. Today, customers are experiencing excessive wait times at the busiest domestic ports-of-entry that can exceed four hours, discouraging foreign commercial and tourism travel to the United States. Abu Dhabi ranks 80th among aviation gateways to the U.S., averaging only 573 passenger arrivals per day in 2012.
“This unanimous vote sends a clear message to the administration that using U.S. taxpayer dollars to benefit a government-owned foreign competitor is completely unacceptable -- particularly when customers traveling into and out of the U.S. continue to endure excessive wait times at our own gateway airports,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “We thank Representatives Meehan, Miller and DeFazio for their efforts to ground the misguided Abu Dhabi agreement, as the ability of U.S. airlines to compete on a level playing field with foreign airlines is critical to ensuring their global competitiveness and economic viability.”
A4A recently launched a campaign calling on the Department of Homeland Security to drop its plan to provide preclearance U.S. national security services at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Joining A4A in this national call to action are the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), Consumer Travel Alliance, Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), and the Regional Airline Association (RAA). The campaign’s website invites Americans to sign a petition. Hundreds of letters from concerned citizens have already been delivered to the White House and DHS.