Rumour: US Customs preclearance for Sydney

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Daver6

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Recently in the US I was on a flight sitting next to someone who worked for US Customs and Border Protection. They were confident that this would be happening in Sydney in the near future.

Would be wonderful to avoid the mess that is LAX and presumably not needing to collect and recheck bags. However, not sure how that would work arriving at TBIT.

Anyway, this person was confident about it....but who knows.
 

RooFlyer

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I can hear the screams about 'sovereignty' and 'No trump America' already :rolleyes:

Can T4 handle A380s? Or, can the new TBIT route arriving pax so they don't go through immigration?
 

BAM1748

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Would be good, to the gate and follow the corridors straight to baggage claim. Yes there are routes through the building.

We can only hope.
 

Stevo.1702

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Certainly would be a plus for Sydney. There is plenty of traffic that could make use of this.
I typically avoid Syd for the frustrating DOM to INT transfers, but if it makes arriving in LAX a lot more comfortable then maybe that's a trade I'm willing to make.
 

Himeno

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TBIT already handles domestic flights. There is a domestic baggage claim belt on the arrivals level outside CBP. Other side of the building from the baggage recheck, but it is small narrow body sized. An A380 bag load would quickly jam it.

The main issue with preclearance is that the local airport/government pays for most of the CBPs costs. They would also have to close off part of SYD T1 for US flights and only US flights. There are ~10 flights/day from SYD to the US (HNL, LAX, SFO, DFW, IAH) with most departing in the same 3 hour block. Is it worth SYD losing 3-4 gates for other flights?
 

RooFlyer

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All sorts of interesting things might happen when the US CBP control airside. I had lots of experience with this in Canada ( dunno if the rules would be the same, but likely)

Have to get to the airport an extra hour ( or more) early to do US immigration etc.

Check in as normal, but then tote your bags to US immigration and then their bag drop. No status or cabin class priority :(

Can't enter immigration area until a certain time before the flight ( pax flow management). Two hrs in Canada.

Time limit allowed airside. If your flight is delayed beyond that, you have to exit the airside area and re do CBP when the issue is fixed.

Lounge airside? What will QF do for Flounges? Not enough pax for 2 separate ones, nor existing one remaining.
 

Himeno

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All sorts of interesting things might happen when the US CBP control airside. I had lots of experience with this in Canada ( dunno if the rules would be the same, but likely)

Have to get to the airport an extra hour ( or more) early to do US immigration etc.

Check in as normal, but then tote your bags to US immigration and then their bag drop. No status or cabin class priority :(

Can't enter immigration area until a certain time before the flight ( pax flow management). Two hrs in Canada.

Time limit allowed airside. If your flight is delayed beyond that, you have to exit the airside area and re do CBP when the issue is fixed.

Lounge airside? What will QF do for Flounges? Not enough pax for 2 separate ones, nor existing one remaining.
A lot of those rules in Canada have more to do with the amount of flights between Canada and the US.

If a CBP preclearance were to be set up in Australia, it would be more like DUB, SNN or AUH.

Baggage can be checked in normally, while the xray of the bag is linked to the pax and a photo taken which can be called up at the CBP check and the pax confirms the bag via screen. The bag is only pulled if the CBP officer has reason for a secondary inspection.

CBP document detailing what preclearance is, how it works etc https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/f...earance_Guidance_Feb2016_05 16 16_final_0.pdf
 

RooFlyer

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A lot of those rules in Canada have more to do with the amount of flights between Canada and the US.

If a CBP preclearance were to be set up in Australia, it would be more like DUB, SNN or AUH.
<snip>

Maybe, but they were my experience from Calgary. Fewer flights in the time period than the number you quoted up thread, and much smaller planes. I think if anything, the control would be stricter in SYD.

Bags might be checked in the way you said, but then again, they might not. ;)

What's the basis for saying it would be more like DUB etc?

Edit: That nice glossy flyer you linked do doesn't bear total resemblance to my dozens and dozens of Canada-US pre clearance experiences from YUL, YVR, YYZ or YYC. A marketing document, shall we say?
 
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harvyk

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Reading that pdf, nothing in that document suggests that they wouldn't be allowed to use normal infrastructure, eg existing lounges, since airside is simply you've left Australia.

It's just they would need to set aside an area dedicated to US bound travelers, and once you've entered that area the timers (and restrictions) start as that is now technically US soil.

In some ways I don't see that as too different than the current gate 8 / 9 arrangement.
 

moa999

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A lot of the US flights seem to depart from the end of the pier anyway which already has extra security.

Probably not too much effort to make this more formal.
 

serfty

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At AUH they do this; it's at the end of a pier (much like the above mentioned SYD gates).

They stagger entry, only allowing people to be processed a set time before their flight.

So, yes, I can envisage it working in SYD without much infrastructure change.
 

blackcat20

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TBIT already handles domestic flights. There is a domestic baggage claim belt on the arrivals level outside CBP. Other side of the building from the baggage recheck, but it is small narrow body sized. An A380 bag load would quickly jam it.

The main issue with preclearance is that the local airport/government pays for most of the CBPs costs. They would also have to close off part of SYD T1 for US flights and only US flights. There are ~10 flights/day from SYD to the US (HNL, LAX, SFO, DFW, IAH) with most departing in the same 3 hour block. Is it worth SYD losing 3-4 gates for other flights?

They already have gates at SYD where they can close it off, including a screening room. We were held outside this gate before our HNL flight where everyone was questioned before being allowed in.
 

RooFlyer

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OK, lets think the flow. Assuming that bags can be checked in as normal, you'd go through Australian exit immigration and into airside, and use the lounges and D/F and other shops.

Then, at the "US flights pier", you would have to go through US entry immigration. How long will you need to be there before your flight departs? An hour? Two? Two would be the norm. US flights necessarily leave within fairly compact time periods, so even spacing them out, there will be quite a few pax needing US immigration around the same time. If SYD bears a lot of the cost, as Himeno stated#, then you can be sure they won't over-do the facilities !! At YYC, the one I was most familiar with, they opened US immigration for a flight 2 hrs before departure; usually nothing bigger than a B737 and it got crowded, with up to 6 booths open.

So what then? D/F won't want to duplicate all their shops; no doubt some will just move to this new area. Space? I guess a re-build of the US 'pier' would be necessary, but that's not out of the question. It would free up space elsewhere airside at SYD, which would need more space sooner or later. anyway.

Maybe QF would have a Biz lounge there; maybe all the airlines would share a lounge. As I said, I can't see a F lounge - maybe a SIN/HKG like lounge? Not the end of the world. Maybe the airlines would pay for a "premium' US immigration lane, to save the cost of a lounge.

I'm not against the concept, and I'm sure they would get it to work one way or another (but almost certainly at the cost of passenger time/experience), but personally, I see a US immigration step between duty-free, other shops and lounges and the aircraft, with maybe 1,000+ pax boarding within a short period, not a pretty thing to contemplate.


# If this is the norm worldwide, that may explain why many of the 'US side' areas at airports in Canada are pretty sterile. In Calgary, there was only an AMEX lounge in the US departures area. I haven't used the new YYC terminal for US departures, but I was told there would be no lounge for US departures there, either.

Once, I was waiting with a colleague in the US departures area at YYC, bound for LAX, and the plane went tech. We were waiting for a while and I got chatting to one of the US officers; it was the last US flight of the day, so I mentioned that I bet he was waiting to go home. Him: Yes, and you want to really hope that your plane gets fixed soon. Me: Why? Him: Because in about 20 minutes you all have to leave this area, then clear immigration again. Me: Groan. Him: You don't get it. All the immigration people have gone home.
Me: :eek:

We boarded 15 mins later.
 

flying_duck

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Am I the only one against this?
This works fine and makes sense in Canada, but with preclearance in Amsterdam it was a nightmare. I had already spent weeks going through central europe, buses, hostels, etc and they made me go through every single booking I had already been on and then every single plan until I got home to Australia. It took close to an hour and I was almost denied boarding because I was too late. Much longer delay than the worst I've had at TBIT which is painful but at most 45 minutes and usually more queueing than questions. It felt like they were more suspicious of me there. And I've had some doozy's at TBIT.

I suppose implement at SYD and I'll fly out of BNE or MEL.
 

BAM1748

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And, don't forget the plan longer term to move QF to T3 and T2, that would make it simple for QF and AA......as for Virgin, they may not worry for their passengers.

I'd rather spend the time lining up before a 14 or more hour flight than at the end of it.
 
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stevenaus

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If this was to happen this Melbourne Flyer would find a new love for departing out of Sydney.
 

harvyk

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Great to see President Trump looking after Australia!

They kinda like the idea of doing CBP whilst still on foreign soil. It means that anyone who doesn't pass muster never even steps foot on US soil. This is from a country that I believe gets worried about foreigners flying over the top of it (in commercial airliners) with no intention of ever landing there.
 

RooFlyer

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They kinda like the idea of doing CBP whilst still on foreign soil. It means that anyone who doesn't pass muster never even steps foot on US soil. This is from a country that I believe gets worried about foreigners flying over the top of it (in commercial airliners) with no intention of ever landing there.

Not even over it, but potentially over it, such as Canadian domestic flights close to the border which have to register their pax manifests with USA, in case they have to divert.
 

TheBOSman

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It seems unlikely to me. The main reason it exists at AUH is because EY/UAE backed up the money truck to do it. In my sense, CBP overall wants to do it, as it is overall good for them from an enforcement standpoint, and has the great advantage of simplifying the process of declining entry to a foreign national that CBP doesn't want to allow in, but they really would prefer someone else to pay for it (not cheap to house agents near the airport abroad). So, unless Australia, or SYD, or some other entity backs up the money truck, I don't like the chances of it happening. For Canada, the main advantage now is that Preclearance allows flights from Canada to LGA and DCA, as neither of those airports have US Customs and Immigration facilities. Of course, for SYD, this isn't really a consideration.

For reference, I've been through Preclearance at YYZ, YVR, and SNN. Both YYZ and YVR have sliding doors that allow some of the USA gates to be switched between USA-bound and international-bound, so any gates at SYD would not necessarily be restricted to just USA-bound, as they could be switched later.
 
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