No pre-clearance facility for US-bound passenger in Air India: govt

New Delhi

 The government today said that no pre-clearance facility would be extended to US-bound passengers of the national carrier Air India due to “far-reaching” implications arising out of it.

This was informed by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma in a written reply in Lok Sabha.

“Air India had written to the Ministry of Civil Aviation to extend pre-clearance facility to its passengers in order to ease their travel to USA. This facility is available in many countries and, as per last information, has also been established in Abu Dhabi,” Sharma said.

He said that a standing Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) was constituted under the Chairmanship of Civil Aviation Secretary for this purpose and views of Ministry of External Affairs obtained in the matter.

“However, the implications of such a measure/facility have been found to be far-reaching and therefore put in ‘non-starter’ category,” the Minister said.

Air India had written to the Civil Aviation Ministry to extend pre-clearance facility to its passengers in order to ease their travel to the US.

Facing stiff competition from the Jet Airways-Etihad combine on the lucrative US routes, Air India had in June requested the Ministry to facilitate a pre-clearance facility for the flyers on its US-bound non-stop flights from major domestic airports.

Such a facility exists for Jet-Etihad passengers at Abu Dhabi, which is the headquarters of Etihad.

The national carrier has sought the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility at Mumbai and Delhi airports to begin with, which would allow these passengers complete the immigration process at these airports itself.


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