Abu Dhabi to open US customs pre-clearance ‘very soon’ – big step for Etihad

This news would fit the 'hard to believe' category. But Etihad is getting a US customs pre-clearance in Abu Dhabi and Hogan is optimistic it can open very soon.

Abu Dhabi International Airport could soon be offering US customs pre-clearance with Etihad Airways chief James Hogan saying he was confident the service would commence "very shortly".

Under the agreement, signed last April, passengers flying from the UAE capital to any US city will be cleared by American customs and immigration officials before boarding their flight, speeding up the entry process and helping the US screen passengers who might be denied entry before flying to the country.

It is believed it is the first time a new destination has been approved for the service since Ireland in the 1980s. The US has operated customs pre-clearance in locations in Canada and some Caribbean islands since the 1950s and 1960s, according to the US Customs and Border Protection website.

This is a major step for Etihad and a smart move. Immigration will be so much easier with a dedicated facility.

Etihad is planning flights from Los Angeles and Dallas later this year. Award availability for the LAX flight is excellent in business and first class currently. You can book Etihad flights with American Advantage Miles rather easily.