Washington, DC – (July 22, 2013). The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) representing over 25,000 professional pilots at both passenger and cargo airlines strongly opposes the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to establish a U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) facility at the Abu Dhabi International Airport.
As a result of sequestration we are seeing budget cuts and furloughs, resulting in security programs being cut or completely eliminated in the United States while the DHS proposes to establish a preclearance facility in a the United Arab Emirates (UAE). If allowed to proceed, this would result in providing a DHS sanctioned competitive advantage to a wealthy (state-backed) foreign airline. “As such, this decision must be stopped,” said CAPA President Mike Karn.
While CAPA understands the need to alleviate an already congested air travel industry, the misguided use of tax-payer dollars for overseas facilities is deeply concerning. Unless safeguards are put in place when these agreements are negotiated, foreign airlines will be given a significant competitive advantage over their US counterparts. Additionally, U.S. carriers will be forever barred in their ability compete on a level playing field in the global marketplace.
This plan represents a real threat to aviation as it sets a disturbing precedent for national security. All incoming flights to the U.S. will be treated as “already cleared” and will not be subject to additional security. Removing important layers of protection would put the safety and security of the traveling public at risk.
“DHS must adequately support the U.S. aviation system and its’ carriers first, before the use of overseas facilities is expanded,” added President Karn. “We must fix the problem in our domestic aviation system by addressing the misallocation of fees that are not being properly used for aviation services.”
CAPA is working with Congress and Administration Officials to resolve these critical issues.