Moak said “It makes no sense to have an Abu Dhabi
preclearance facility, as no U.S. carrier flies between
Abu Dhabi and the United States. Nor does it make
‘cents’ to use U.S. taxpayers’ money as financial
assistance to one of the wealthiest emirates in the UAE,
especially when doing so would provide a foreign airline
with distinct marketing advantages and further
exacerbate the disadvantages that U.S. airlines face in
the international marketplace.”
Today’s hearing to investigate the effects of the Abu
Dhabi preclearance facility on U.S. businesses was an
important step toward promoting our nation’s airlines;
however, more needs to be done in order to protect the
future of the U.S. aviation industry. ALPA recommended
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should abandon
any plans to open a preclearance facility in the UAE, or
any country where U.S. carriers do not do at least a
majority of the flying.
Congress should pass strong legislation that will
prevent DHS from using U.S. taxpayer money to provide a
benefit to non-U.S. airlines, thereby hurting U.S.
airlines and their employees. It should also prohibit
DHS from accepting independent funding of preclearance
facilities from any third parties, including cities,
countries, and carriers.
The United States should prioritize adequate resources
to fully and appropriately staff domestic customs and
immigration operations to reduce passenger wait times at
all international airports to a reasonable maximum. DHS
should improve its services and staffing at U.S.
airports instead of spreading its resources to foreign
countries not served by any U.S. airline.
The United States should adopt a formal transportation
policy that supports our aviation industry and places it
in a position to compete with every airline in the
world. This policy would need to start with a complete
review and reform of the tax and fee structure applied
to U.S. airlines.
The U.S. airline industry and its employees operate in a
hyper-competitive global marketplace. Foreign airlines
are often state-owned or heavily state-sponsored and
operate with significant advantages such as a tax-free
local environment, beneficial regulatory policy, and
virtually unlimited access to the U.S. market. In
contrast, the U.S. has no formal transportation policy
in place that supports aviation, and it is the most
heavily taxed of all industries in America with 17
unique taxes and fees.
“U.S. airlines and their employees are driven to compete
and prevail against our foreign competitors,” said Moak.
“But our industry cannot prevail—or even keep pace—while
hindered by actions from our own government that hurt
our ability to compete in the international marketplace.
The U.S. government needs to change course and level the
playing field. Putting a permanent halt to the Abu Dhabi
preclearance facility is a critical step in that
A4A launched the Draw the Line Here campaign,
calling on the U.S. to drop its plan to provide
preclearance U.S. national security services at Abu
Dhabi International Airport. Thousands of letters
from concerned citizens have already been delivered
to the White House and DHS. 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).