ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – The award-winning United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) today welcomed its one millionth passenger.
Elizabeth Dail from Washington, departing on Etihad Airways’ flight EY131 to Washington DC, was the millionth passenger to use this unique facility, which allows immigration, customs and security clearance procedures for arrival to the United States to be completed at AUH.
Passengers traveling to New York, Washington, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles on flights operated by the national carrier, Etihad Airways, can take advantage of this service, and avoid lengthy queues upon arrival in the US.
To celebrate this milestone Abu Dhabi Airports, CBP and Etihad Airways presented Ms. Dail with 250,000 Etihad Guest Miles and an upgrade to First Class for her US bound flight. The prize will enable her to use the miles to book a business class return flight to the cities Etihad Airways flies to in the US.
Speaking on the occasion, Eng. Ahmad Al Haddabi, Chief Operations Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “We are proud to be one of the few airports around the world, and the only one in the Middle East and Africa to host this facility. The fact that today, just over 2 years since opening in late January 2014, one million passengers have already used our US preclearance services, shows that it is a valuable facility offered by Abu Dhabi Airports and our partner Etihad Airways, and one that is making AUH the airport of choice for passengers traveling to the US.”
In addition to reducing the processing time upon arrival in the US, the preclearance facility also brings a number of other key benefits, including the introduction of the most advanced baggage screening technology which meets United States security standards, meaning air travelers connecting onto US domestic flights can now have their baggage checked through from Abu Dhabi to their final destination.
Abu Dhabi Airports recently won the Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in the Joint Projects Category for the US preclearance facility.
Khaled Al Mehairbi, Senior Vice President of Abu Dhabi Airport Operations for Etihad Airways, said: “The CBP is a unique selling point in the airport operation here at Abu Dhabi and has been a major factor in the success of our growing American connections. Through connecting to cities such as New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and San Francisco during this initial phase of the CBP, we’ve been able to track the success of the facility in relation to those routes. Our guests repeatedly tell us how simple the CBP facility is and we want to develop our services even further with the help of our partners at US CBP and Abu Dhabi Airports.”
Jason Greene, CBP Port Director at Abu Dhabi, said: “The CBP preclearance facility exists to ensure that a high level of security is maintained for all users transiting through Abu Dhabi International Airport to the United States. The CBP facility is part of a growing operation that exist worldwide offering preclearance facilities at foreign airports, where our teams provide layered security measures that facilitate legitimate travel into the USA. Today is an important milestone since we first opened the facility and has been achieved through a strong partnership with Abu Dhabi Airports and Etihad Airways.”
Elizabeth Dail was delighted to receive her gifts stating: “It was very exciting to be the one millionth passenger to have used the facility at Abu Dhabi. Being able to clear immigration, security and customs checks in Abu Dhabi makes the travel process very efficient and hassle free. At the end of a long flight and upon arrival to the Unites States, it is wonderful to be able to leave the airport quickly and not have to wait in long queues.”