A new US law paves the way for additional US Customs pre-clearance facilities in Canadian airports and train stations, which officials say will make cross-border passenger air and rail travel more efficient.

The Promoting Travel, Commerce, and National Security Act, signed into law by US President Barack Obama on December 16, 2017, is aimed at bringing US Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance for US-bound travellers to priority Canadian gateways like Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and Montreal’s Central Station.

The US currently has pre-clearance facilities at 15 airports in six countries; most are in Canada, including Calgary International airport, Edmonton International airport, Halifax Robert L. Stanfield International airport, Montreal Trudeau International airport, Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International airport, Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International airport, and Winnipeg International Airport. The others are in the Caribbean, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates.

“This Act is key to the long term strategy of the United States and Canada to make cross-border transit more efficient, fostering economic development and improving safety and security of our shared border,” said Joe McHugh, senior vice president of government affairs at Amtrak, the US national passenger railway. “When implemented, Amtrak passengers can look forward to a more reliable, safer and more efficient cross-border experience.”

“Preclearance at Billy Bishop airport will allow Porter Airlines to operate more effectively on our many existing US routes, while also opening the door to serving new US destinations,” said Porter Airlines president and CEO Robert Deluce at a press conference in Burlington, Vermont, with the legislation’s lead sponsor US Senator Patrick Leahy. Porter Airlines operates seasonal flights between Billy Bishop airport and Burlington International airport.


Robert Curley