US looks to start preclearance operations at ten foreign airports

31 May 2015 (Last Updated May 31st, 2015 18:30)

The US is planning to extend its air preclearance operations to ten more airports internationally, to screen passengers at the beginning of their journey rather than after arrival.

The US is planning to extend its air preclearance operations to ten more airports internationally, to screen passengers at the beginning of their journey rather than after arrival.

Brussels Airport in Belgium, Punta Cana Airport in Dominican Republic, Narita International Airport in Japan, Amsterdam Airport Schipol in the Netherlands, Norway's Oslo Airport, Spain's Madrid-Barajas Airport, Stockholm Arlanda Airport in Sweden, Turkey's Istanbul Ataturk Airport and the London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport in the UK have been identified for inclusion in the preclearance list.

"CBP's preclearance operations are an important step in the US Government's effort to prevent terrorism from coming to our borders."

The airports have been shortlisted by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in consultation with the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of State (DoS).

CBP is responsible for the screening of passengers and their baggage before they leave a foreign port.

Preclearance would mean passengers will be screened before the departure from these airports. CBP commissioner R Gil Kerlikowske said: "CBP's preclearance operations are an important step in the US Government's effort to prevent terrorism from coming to our borders.

"Where we can identify foreign airports willing to partner with us, additional preclearance agreements will further protect the safety and security of our citizens while also streamlining legitimate travel and commerce."

US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said: "Preclearance is a win-win for the traveling public. It provides aviation and homeland security, and it reduces wait times upon arrival at the busiest US airports."

The US and the governments of the host countries are expected to start negotiations leading to a final air preclearance agreement, which will pave the way for the establishment of a new preclearance facility.