Qatar in talks over US ‘preclearance’ facility
Doha, March 2, 2014
Doha’s new international airport, which is set to open later this year, is in talks with US authorities for a US ‘preclearance’ customs post, said a report.
The facility allows passengers to go through US customs before boarding their flight and thus bypass the process after arriving in the country, said the Dow Jones report.
A similar US Customs and Border Protection facility was opened in Abu Dhabi earlier this year and led to an uproar among US pilot associations, which claim such posts would give Gulf carriers an unfair advantage over peers, it said.
The growth of the Gulf region's three biggest carriers - Qatar, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways - has caused some European and US carriers to complain that they are funded by deep-pocketed governments that subsidise their cost base.
Abu Dhabi was the 15th airport to secure such a post, while Ireland's Shannon Airport was the first to have such a facility outside North America. Similar facilities exist in Dublin and several Canadian airports as well as in Bermuda, Aruba and the Bahamas.
Dubai, which operates the world's second-busiest airport for international traffic, has also expressed an interest in setting up a preclearance facility.