Sept. 6, 2019

NBAA is working with Canadian officials and FBOs to add preclearance services for business aircraft operations leaving Canada for the United States.

Preclearance allows Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel to inspect travelers prior to boarding U.S.-bound flights. Passengers are subject to the same immigration, customs and agriculture inspections as are typically conducted upon arrival in the U.S. so no further inspection is required upon arrival.

Today, preclearance is available for commercial airline passengers departing six foreign countries and available for business aviation passengers in Shannon, Ireland and Aruba.

“NBAA has an effective relationship with CBP, but we continue to see issues at certain airports where assets are diverted from general aviation to commercial operations,” said Sarah Wolf, NBAA’s senior director of security and facilitation. “Preclearance services in strategic locations maximize CBP resources available to business aviation and to other facets of transportation. It also provides the agency with an opportunity to identify nefarious actors prior to entering the U.S.”

CBP clearly sees benefit in having the U.S. border go beyond the physical border by inspecting individuals before departure from the foreign country, providing an added security layer that detects threats before passengers arrive to the U.S.

“This is the beginning of a long process,” said Wolf. “This initiative will require coordination with multiple offices in the U.S., including the departments of state and homeland security, the Canadian government and airport officials.”

Wolf noted there are a number of challenges related to preclearance, including liability and jurisdiction issues. For example, preclearance may require an armed or uniformed officer from the U.S. to drive across the foreign airport ramp to an FBO away from the main commercial terminal. These and other issues will require resolution before preclearance is available in Canada.

NBAA also is working on solutions for compliance with international garbage requirements, including catering services that are compliant with U.S. agriculture mandates, eliminating the need to stop at an airport with international garbage disposal service upon entering the U.S.