by Michael J. Shapiro | June 02, 2015
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will begin negotiations to expand its air preclearance security program to 10 new airports in nine countries. The preclearance program, which already exists at 15 foreign airports, entails passengers undergoing immigration, customs and agriculture inspections before boarding fights to the U.S., thereby speeding the arrival process and stopping potential threats before they arrive in the United States. "I want to take every opportunity we have to push our homeland security out beyond our borders," said Secretary of Homeland Security Jed Johnson, "so that we are not defending the homeland from the one-yard line." The 10 proposed airports, which represent some of the busiest in terms of inbound U.S. traffic, are: Brussels Airport, Belgium; Punta Cana Airport, Dominican Republic; Narita International Airport, Japan; Amsterdam Airport Schipol, Netherlands; Oslo Airport, Norway; Madrid-Barajas Airport, Spain; Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden; Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Turkey; and London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport, United Kingdom.

The proposal has been applauded by several airlines, including American and JetBlue. "Expanding air preclearance is a tremendous step forward for improving the overall travel experience for our customers and welcoming more visitors to the United States," said Robert Isom, chief operating officer for American Airlines. "We are excited to begin discussions on expanding preclearance facilities."