WASHINGTON, June 11, 2014 – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, applauded House Homeland Security Committee action that would require U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assess the impact any future preclearance facilities will have on security, passengers, our economy and customs staffing at U.S. gateway airports.
The bill creates a number of notifications and certifications CBP must make to Congress before establishing preclearance facilities at new locations. Notably, any new location must be served by U.S. carriers and CBP would be required to consult with stakeholders, including airlines, prior to entering into an agreement with a foreign government. Additionally, the legislation includes a “fix it here first” plan requiring CBP to address facilitation issues at U.S. gateways where customs wait times exceed those at facilities in foreign countries. In addition, the bill includes a requirement that CBP must consider and report on the economic, competitive and job impacts that new locations would have.
“We thank Representatives Miller (R-MI), Meehan (R-PA), McCaul (R-TX) and Thompson (D-MS) for their bipartisan leadership in addressing lengthy customs wait times at U.S. gateway airports, which inconvenience U.S. citizens and discourage travel to the United States,” said Nicholas E. Calio, A4A president and CEO. “Restoring Congressional oversight to the CBP process will help to improve the throughput of passengers and cargo, while further enhancing the overall travel experience for the customers we serve.”
Calio noted that airlines are paying for and installing Automated Passenger Control kiosks at key hub locations, which have significantly reduced processing times.
“Airlines will work cooperatively with CBP this summer travel season to identify and mitigate any challenges that may arise on an airport-by-airport basis, and we look forward to working with the Administration on our shared goal of growing and improving U.S. air travel,” Calio said.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. U.S. airlines fly 2.3 million passengers and more than 55,000 tons of cargo each day. Airlines for America (A4A) advocates on behalf of the American airline industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation’s economy and global competitiveness.
A4A works collaboratively with the airlines, labor groups, Congress and the Administration to improve air travel for everyone.