After a successful year of operations United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance program at Abu Dhabi airport will be extended to all travellers on Etihad Airways flights, the airline announced.

Starting Thursday, January 15, the airline’s morning flights to New York and San Francisco, joined mid-morning flights to Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., which can take advantage of this service.

The U.S. CBP preclearance program allows passengers to pass through all required checks, including TSA standard baggage security screening, U.S. customs, immigration and security while at the departure airport, before boarding their flight bound to the U.S., which allows the passengers to land on U.S. soil as domestic passengers and make any connecting flights without having to claim and re-check luggage.

In Abu Dhabi, the U.S. CBP preclearance program has been enhanced with added automated passport control (APC) kiosks and officer processing desks.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We’re delighted that from this Thursday all air travellers flying to the United States from Abu Dhabi will enjoy the benefits that US customs and immigration preclearance offers.

“Since its opening in January last year, the US preclearance has been extremely popular with air travellers, particularly those from the Indian Subcontinent and Middle East region. More than 325,000 people have passed through the facility, arriving in the United States as domestic passengers.”

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is one of fifteen pre-cleared airports in six nations which include Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada and Ireland approved for the preclearance program. The U.S. has indicated that it intends to enter into negotiations to expand its air preclearance operations to new locations starting 2015.

Photo Credit: Gates at Abu Dhabi International Airport. ADIA