US considers airport preclearance centers in nine countries including Turkey
WASHINGTON / ISTANBULThe Department of Homeland Security said on May 29 it is considering expanding airline preclearance operations to 10 new foreign airports in nine countries, most of them in Europe.
The department said it was entering negotiations to add preclearance programs in Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom, where Heathrow and Manchester airports are on the list.
Pre-clearance allows U.S. customs officers stationed in other countries to decide if travelers and their baggage can be permitted into the United States. That alleviates the crush of people attempting to clear customs after arrival.
"Preclearance is a win-win for the traveling public. It provides aviation and homeland security, and it reduces wait times upon arrival at the busiest U.S. airports," Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement reported by Reuters.
Airlines for America, the industry trade organization for U.S. airlines, applauded the move.
"U.S. airlines drive $1.5 trillion in economic activity, and by improving the passenger experience for visitors or those returning to the United States, while improving security, we can build on that," said A4A President & CEO Nick Calio.
THY launches 3 new flights from Istanbul
Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines, the country's flag carrier, said on May 29 it is due to launch three new flight destinations from Istanbul.
The company said in a statement that the three new destinations are Tajikistan's second-largest city Khujand, Mauritius's capital Port Louis and Madagascar's capital Antananarivo, according to Anadolu Agency.
Turkish Airlines offers flights to over 250 international destinations in over 100 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Americas.