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Qatar eyes US preclearance for air travelers

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – A top aviation official in Qatar says the Gulf state is applying to have a U.S. preclearance customs facility to screen travelers headed to the United States.

Qatar Airways on Sunday confirmed recent comments made by Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker about the proposal. Al-Baker is overseeing development of a new airport in Qatar’s capital Doha slated to open this year.

The U.S. Embassy in Qatar had no comment. U.S. Customs and Border officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The U.S. in January opened a preclearance post in the nearby United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi that lets passengers avoid immigration and customs lines on arrival. U.S. pilots and members of Congress have criticized the facility, alleging it could benefit UAE national carrier Etihad Airways over U.S. airlines

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