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Why No Pre-clearance At LHR?  
User currently offlinevinniewinnie From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 789 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 9647 times:

Following the thread "Why No United States-Mexico Pre-clearance?" Why No United States-Mexico Pre-clearance? (by aviacsa55 Jul 19 2012 in Civil Aviation)

I was wondering why there wasn't any at LHR. VV701 below said there used to pre-clearance at LGW. Now given that Shannon has pre-clearance, why can't have Heathrow have its own pre-clearance facility?

Here is my train of thoughts:

Given the amount of flights to/from London to the US, I'm sure that some pre-clearance booths could be installed at Heathrow. Given the amount of flights BA operates, one could imagine having those at T5 only.

BA roughly operates 37 flights a day to the US. that is around 2.7 million people a year (based on an average of 200 pax per passenger). Imagine 20 TSA agent at total cost of $90k each (Cost includes compensation package), that is only $0.60 per passenger! Peanuts really! Even a 100 TSA employees would only cost $3.3 per pax!

Correct me if I'm wrong...

Quoting VV701:

Back in the early 1990s there was a short period when there was pre-clearence in LON. I certainly remember one BA LHR-JFK flight where I pre-cleared at LHR T4 in a facility set up to the left side of and immediately after the security check. I think a similar facility was also set up at LGW.

None of this lasted long. My recollection is that it was terminated because of the high cost living / accommodation for the pre-clearence staff in the Heathrow area. But if this is correct why was LGW pre-clearence closed? Perhaps it was regarded as anti-competitive to give pre-clearence to passengers travelling from LGW but not those travelling from LHR.


[Edited 2012-07-20 12:45:19]

33 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinecatiii From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 3029 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 9624 times:

Sounds like you answered your own question: there's a high cost of living in London, thusly the US government doesn't want to pay for it.

User currently onlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3221 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 9564 times:

This has been asked many times before. There are lots of reasons for not having pre-clearance. Money is a major one. Does the UK government wan't US employees working in UK airports? What about all the transfer passengers (of which there are many) that will need to reclaim their bags in LHR to carry them through US customs? It makes their journey a lot more of a hasle. Plus it will take up a lot of space inside the terminal that the airport doesn't have


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LHR-VIE-PRN,SPU-OSL-LHR,STN-SNN-STN,LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,
User currently offlineAmricanShamrok From Ireland, joined May 2008, 2887 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 9530 times:

Quoting vinniewinnie (Thread starter):
Imagine 20 TSA agent at total cost of $90k each (Cost includes compensation package), that is only $0.60 per passenger! Peanuts really! Even a 100 TSA employees would only cost $3.3 per pax!

Preclearance is operated by US Customs and Border Protection under the Dept. of Homeland Security, not the TSA. While the airport operator would have to pay to build/install the preclearance facility, the DHS pays the agents' salaries (and possibly other living expenses) at the end of the day.



Shannon-Chicago
User currently offlinevinniewinnie From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 789 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 9432 times:

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 3):
Preclearance is operated by US Customs and Border Protection under the Dept. of Homeland Security, not the TSA. While the airport operator would have to pay to build/install the preclearance facility, the DHS pays the agents' salaries (and possibly other living expenses) at the end of the day.

My bad it's indeed US customes and Border Protection

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):
Money is a major one

Shouldnt be unless my calculations are wrong!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):
about all the transfer passengers (of which there are many) that will need to reclaim their bags in LHR to carry them through US customs

It's a pain i've done it several times in Toronto but such a better experience though.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):
Plus it will take up a lot of space inside the terminal that the airport doesn't have

I don't know T5 well enough to judge although I could well imagine T5C say being reserved for american flights!


User currently offlineMalayil From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 112 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 9274 times:

I think the British population would not approve of US Border agents in the UK. Sovereignty and all that.

User currently offlineghYHZ From Canada, joined Feb 2008, 257 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 9189 times:

Quoting Malayil (Reply 5):
I think the British population would not approve of US Border agents in the UK. Sovereignty and all that.

Canada places tight controls on what a US CBP Officer is permitted to do on Canadian soil while performing duties under the Pre-Clearance Act........and read the last paragraph of the preamble......it’s enacted in the name of Her Majesty.

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/P-19.3/FullText.html


User currently offlineLJ From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4418 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 8772 times:

Quoting vinniewinnie (Reply 4):
I don't know T5 well enough to judge although I could well imagine T5C say being reserved for american flights!

T5 is BA/Oneworld exclusively. I doubt that BA would allow VS, UA and DL use "their" terminal.


User currently offlineBA84 From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 418 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 8732 times:
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Can you imagine British or Canadian pre-clearance at US airports?
Foreign officers on US soil would not be tolerated.
Yet the USA feels they have the right to station their officers on foreign soil.


User currently offlineleezyjet From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 4041 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 8584 times:

When pier 7 was built in T3, the idea was that there would be US pre-clearance in that part of the terminal as that was where TWA and Pan-Am operated from and it was simple to have in place as that part was separated from the rest of the terminal.

BA objected to them having pre-clearance as it gave the 2 US carriers an unfair advantage in BA's backyard, so it never happened.

Now with several airlines flying to the US from several different terminals, it would be too costly and complicated to manage in a place like LHR.

 



"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
User currently offlineChinaClipper40 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 169 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 8467 times:

I'm not really sure that Canadian or British pre-clearance at major U.S. airports would be such a big deal. After all, U.S. preclearance officers in Canada, Ireland, and the Caribbean are simply immigration/customs officers. They have no police authority. The most that they can do is prevent a passenger from boarding. Or, in the case of an obvious crime, call the local police authorities. And "foreign officers" are most certainly tolerated on U.S. soil. Ever heard of NORAD (North American Airospace Defence Command)? The Deputy Commander at NORAD Headquarters in Colorado Springs is always a senior Canadian military officer who emphatically HAS legal command authority over U.S. military units. The current NORAD Deputy Commander is Lieutenant-General Thomas J. Lawson, Royal Canadian Air Force. Prior to being appointed Deputy Commander of NORAD, General Lawson was Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada and subsequently Assistant Chief of the Air Staff of the Canadian Forces. And NORAD's headquarters staff is filled with Canadian officers who have command authority over U.S. Air Force personnel and units. It all depends upon who's on duty at any particular time.

ChinaClipper40


User currently offlinetheginge From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 1132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 8437 times:

Quoting vinniewinnie (Reply 4):
I don't know T5 well enough to judge although I could well imagine T5C say being reserved for american flights!

There are probably not enough stands at certain times of day for all the Americas flights to be in T5C if you include the fact that the aircraft will be on stand for at least 2-3 hours from arriving in to LHR.

Quoting LJ (Reply 7):
T5 is BA/Oneworld exclusively. I doubt that BA would allow VS, UA and DL use "their" terminal.

The Terminal is owned by the BAA so they could if they wanted to put anyone else in there, although with BA using it there wouldn't be space anyway.


User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8326 posts, RR: 7
Reply 12, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 8342 times:
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The reasons for Canadian pre-clearance and LHR pre-clearance would be for two different types of flights. Many smaller US cities need a flight to Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal which can be flown by a regional jet. Any flight to LHR would need at least a 757 from the east coast and a 767 from the rest of the USA, those airports have FIS capabilities already. Very flew US cities which could have a flight to LHR don't, Memphis, Salt Lake City and Portland Oregon.

User currently offlineairbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 8287 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 8219 times:

Quoting BA84 (Reply 8):
Yet the USA feels they have the right to station their officers on foreign soil.

It's not a right, it's a mutually agreed arrangement. US officers have no legal jurisdiction over the passenger on foreign soil and they in no way replace the foreign country's officials or laws. I'm sure Canada has as much to gain from it as the US does from this arrangement, and so do the other countries where pre-clearance exists. It stimulates travel and tourism by reducing costs and streamlining customs and immigration procedures. There wouldn't be nearly as many flights between the US and Canada if it wasn't for pre-clearance. But that's not to say that it's the right thing for every market. I personally don't think that pre-clearance at LHR is a good idea.


User currently offlineskipness1E From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2007, 3229 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 8124 times:

Quoting catiii (Reply 1):
thusly

  Ouch

So aside from Ireland, Canada and Mexico and neighbouring states, is that the limit of their foreign proesence?


User currently offlinerwy04lga From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 3176 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 8050 times:

Quoting BA84 (Reply 8):
Yet the USA feels they have the right to station their officers on foreign soil.

OK, fellow Canadian, where does the US claim to have that 'right'? 70 years ago there was no problem. Oh that's right, it was OK as long as they were willing to fight and die on that 'foreign soil'.



Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 16, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 8009 times:

Quoting vinniewinnie (Reply 4):
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 2):Money is a major one
Shouldnt be unless my calculations are wrong!

The operational costs would be much higher for US govt employee with all salary, benefits and overseas allowances. Currently a E-5 (over 6) would receive $1916.79 for OHA Rental Allowance and $736.86 Utility Allowance monthly - $31,843.80 yearly and $11,279.04 yearly Overseas COLA - above their base salary of $31,946.40 - that's $75,069.24 before you figure in any costs for the employer share of social security, retirement, medical insurance/ care, etc. Using a standard figure of 150% of employee salary and payments - that puts the cost at $112K+ per year for the lower level employees - so figure the costs at $130K average.

20 people would barely be enough to man a 24 hour checkpoint with 4 people on duty at all times. Can an average of 4 people clear an average of 7,400 people per day - 308 per hour - 77 people per hour per agent.

That is less than one minute per passenger + all crew members - all day every day all year. Your 100 person detachment is closer to what is needed.

But - the biggest cost would be to build a new terminal, or rebuild a current terminal dedicated solely for US bound flights. Unless some airlines would agree to a significant disadvantage on US bound flights. Frankly, I could see the legal battle over which airlines can be pre-cleared and which cannot to cost tens of millions of dollars.

Quoting BA84 (Reply 8):
Yet the USA feels they have the right to station their officers on foreign soil.

No. The US feels no such right.

The US, like every other nation, feel they have the right to control Customs and Immigration for people entering the country. Nations who want pre-clearance ASK the US to voluntarily move a vital US government function to their territory to aid their citizens travel.

Especially with Canada, this allows Canadian citizens to travel much easier to many smaller US cities without having to make long expensive multi-leg flight to clear US CBP at a major airport.


User currently offlineshamrock604 From Ireland, joined Sep 2007, 4166 posts, RR: 13
Reply 17, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 7936 times:

Quoting vinniewinnie (Thread starter):
I was wondering why there wasn't any at LHR. VV701 below said there used to pre-clearance at LGW. Now given that Shannon has pre-clearance, why can't have Heathrow have its own pre-clearance facility?

I'm a little confused here. Shannon and Heathrow are after all in two different countries.

Quoting catiii (Reply 1):
Sounds like you answered your own question: there's a high cost of living in London, thusly the US government doesn't want to pay for it.

There's a high cost of living in Dublin too (though thankfully declining again relative to other cities - yet during the boom time here, it was every bit as pricey as London), so I dont think this is the only explanation.

Quoting Malayil (Reply 5):
I think the British population would not approve of US Border agents in the UK. Sovereignty and all that.

I somehow doubt that. Ireland is not long independent in the big scheme of things and we still have "issues" asserting our independence sometimes.   We have had no issue with this "imposition" on our soil. The agents work just before the boarding gates, so its not like they are policing us within our borders. The biggest issue we have is with their rudeness sometimes, but that's just immigration staff for you!  

I personally could not care less because they obviously only have anything to do with me if I am Travelling to the U.S and even then just before boarding, and it makes my arrival experience far more pleasant, so it's a win win situation. It would be somewhat different if they interacted with me on arrival into Ireland - then, I would have a real, and very justified, problem.



Flown EI,FR,RE,EIR,VE,SI,TLA,BA,BE,BD,VX,MON,AF,YS,WX,KL,SK,LH,OK,OS,LX,IB,LTU,HLX,4U,SU,CO,DL,UA,AC,PR,MH,SQ,QF, EY, EK
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25069 posts, RR: 46
Reply 18, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days ago) and read 7477 times:

There was briefly preclearance at Heathrow.
It ended in the early 1980s. It was available in a single terminal, and during the morning/noon hours. The program was withdrawn when funding was cut by the UK government.
There was also to be trial at Amsterdam, which never quite got off the ground.


Also what might be well known, outside of pre-clearnace, the US ICE/CBP bases full time officers to 10 foreign airports in eight countries and there are negotiations with foreign governments to deploy to additional locations.
These officers work with to identify potential high-risk passengers, assist airlines and local partners to review travel documents and conduct interviews for U.S.­bound travelers. They observe the airport environment to gather information, and exchange intelligence with local officials. Additionally CBP has international liaison group based out of NY, Miami and Honolulu that maintain close ties airlines and overseas agencies and can deploy staffing to foreign ports as needed as well.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinesabenapilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2000, 2714 posts, RR: 46
Reply 19, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days ago) and read 7332 times:

Pre-clearance isn't very efficient for the simple reason it still needs the presence of US immigration/customs officers, which makes it prohibitatively expensive to run at smaller airports, while the required size of the force makes it operationally impossible at the greater hubs.

What would be a much more efficient approach would be to let foreign officers act on behalf of the US DoHS at the airport of departure, thus eliminating the need to relocate any US officers to for instance LHR or FRA.

The system could be limited to allowing foreign officers clearing people from visa waiver countries only: that woulnd't be too difficult to achieve and already make life much easier for all those eligable, while it would also shorten the lines in the US for those who aren't. A win-win.

I know it may sound controversial to many Americans to have a foreigner decide on the right of entry to their country, but mind you it shouldn't be such a big deal really. The US can still freely select which countries it sees fit to sign such an agreement with and can obvioulsy have a say in the selection and training of any officers, just as it has in selecting and training theirs. It's just a matter of creating the right legal environment really.

Foreign officers clearing you into a country which isn't theirs isn't so revolutionary at all, BTW: it happens every day in Europe:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area


User currently offlineFlyingSicilian From Italy, joined Mar 2009, 1322 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days ago) and read 7226 times:

Quoting BA84 (Reply 8):
Can you imagine British or Canadian pre-clearance at US airports?
Foreign officers on US soil would not be tolerated.
Yet the USA feels they have the right to station their officers on foreign soil.

Check the facts and the link to the act posted above.
Canada has the right, right now, to post agents in the US and set up pre-clearance here.
It is a reciprical bilateral agreement.
So far, I'll presume due to cost and logistics, Canada has choosen not too.



“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
User currently offlinebabybus From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days ago) and read 7037 times:

Not being funny but why do we need it?

We can stand in the queue at the American airport if we are going there.


User currently offlinereadytotaxi From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 3222 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days ago) and read 7037 times:

Question; are there any published figures for the number of UK departing passengers that are rejected on arrival in the USA
and the passport nationality?



you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
User currently offlinepnwtraveler From Canada, joined Jun 2007, 2235 posts, RR: 12
Reply 23, posted (2 years 1 month 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6963 times:

Not Pre-Clearance for departures but it seems arrivals might be smoothed out at LHR since non-risk countries will get fast track arrivals. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and the US will in theory get easier arrivals.

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/10...throw-fast-track-passport-heathrow


User currently offlineIRISH251 From Ireland, joined Nov 2004, 969 posts, RR: 4
Reply 24, posted (2 years 1 month 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6758 times:

Quoting babybus (Reply 21):
Not being funny but why do we need it?

We can stand in the queue at the American airport if we are going there.

The advantage is that on arrival in the US you are treated as a domestic arrival, so you can usually be on your way very quickly after landing. OTOH you must allow time at the departure airport to complete the necessary formalities before departure.


25 Aesma : As you said, it was a long time ago. Time to let that argument go, maybe ? But I agree, the US doesn't claim that right. In fact, decades ago when Pr
26 talktocharlie : London Heathrow Airport is just too busy, the queues will be out the door and you would be waiting for hours just to get pre-cleared.
27 trident3 : I don't think it would be a problem, if you take you car across the channel by ferry or through the tunnel you pre-clear French imigration before boa
28 STT757 : For a station as large as LHR you would probably need around 120 - 200 staff: 100 agents would be needed to cover morning, evening and day watch post
29 Indio66 : Yet the British have their agents in Paris for Eurostar . . . Indio
30 ZaphodB : a couple of reactions to that: 1. I used to fly transatlantic from LGW regularly throughout the 90s and never once pre-cleared. If it ever existed th
31 AussieItaliano : I don't think that the UK or the US would have any objections to this as a matter of principle. But remember that LHR is very overcrowded and spread o
32 Post contains images eljonno : Hey!! There are some very nice parts of Crawley, I'll have you know!!! (I went to school there...) Personally I'm not bothered about pre clearance at
33 Viscount724 : At a few Canadian airports (YUL and YVR at least) it's no longer necessary to claim your baggage when connecting from a domestic Canadian flight to a
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