Special counters set up at Abu Dhabi International Airport
Customs and immigration clearance will now be a breeze for passengers travelling to the US from the UAE with the opening of new counters at Abu Dhabi International Airport .
These special counters for immigration, customs and other relevant procedures have been set up to allow all the pre-clearance operations at the Abu Dhabi International Airport for passengers heading for the US. All the customs and entry procedures to the US will be cleared here, allowing passengers to take their luggage and leave the airports without any delay or queues in the US.
“The start of preclearance operations at Abu Dhabi International Airport is an important milestone in the United States relationship with the United Arab Emirates. With the ability for passengers to complete immigration, customs, and agricultural inspection procedures prior to departure, the preclearance program will reduce wait times at key airports in the United States by allowing travellers from Abu Dhabi to enter the United States as domestic passengers,” said Jeffery Ladenson, the Press Officer at the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
He said the Middle East has the fastest growing market for air travel on the globe and securely facilitating legitimate travellers from this region will draw more business to the US. The move, he said, was taken to avoid delays at both Abu Dhabi International Airport and airports in the US. The US has similar arraignments with several countries, including Canada and some South American states. The initiative was overwhelmingly welcomed by many frequent travellers to the US from the UAE, who said it is a very economically viable move that saves both money and time.
“This will boost the economic relations between the two countries. Most of the US airports are over-crowded with hundreds of flights landing and departing from there, causing big rush hours of struggle to get immigration and customs clearances. Now I can simply go to Abu Dhabi airport and get all the US immigration and customs clearance and straightaway leave the airport with my luggage upon arrival,” said Jackson Jalal, who lives in Philadelphia and travels to the UAE frequently.
The new special US counters at the airport started operating in the early hours of Friday (January 24). According to a staff member at the airport, the entire setup was completed within a day with the first service provided to passengers heading for Washington on an Etihad flight. “The service is provided to passengers flying on any airline to US from here. Most of the staff had to work overtime to complete the procedures. It is a big help for those travelling to the US. I have seen and met many passengers who complain of delays at US airports due to big rush,” he said.
In a statement to AP, Etihad Airlines said additional flights to the US will be processed via the facility in the coming days. The airline currently operates non-stop daily flights from Abu Dhabi to New York, Washington D.C. and Chicago. It plans more routes this year to Los Angeles and Dallas. The airline has code-share partnerships with JetBlue Airways and American Airlines that allow passengers to fly on routes operated by both carriers on a single ticket. — (With inputs from AP) firstname.lastname@example.org
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