For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates— Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson concluded a four-day trip to the Middle East where he visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). During the trip, Secretary Johnson met with regional leaders to discuss homeland security-related priorities, including counterterrorism, aviation security, and efforts to ensure our common security interests.
In Qatar, Secretary Johnson attended the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting where he participated in a panel discussion entitled “Government Treatment of Commercial Aviation.” During the discussion, Secretary Johnson highlighted the importance of strengthening the partnership between the government and the airline industry, including improvements the Department is making to enhance security and facilitation benefits by expanding preclearance operations around the world.
Secretary Johnson also met with senior airline officials, including Air France Chief Executive Officer Peter Hartman, KLM Chief Executive Officer Alexandre de Juniac, Korean Air Lines Chief Executive Officer Yang-Ho Cho, SAS Head of Public & Regulatory Affairs Hans Ollongren, Lufthansa Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate International Relations and Government Affairs Thomas Kropp, and Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Officer Craig Kreeger to discuss the department's commitment to shared priorities of facilitating legitimate travel while maintaining a high level of global air security.
While in Abu Dhabi, Secretary Johnson toured the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The Preclearance Agreement with the UAE enhances aviation security by allowing U.S. security officials to screen passengers before they board flights bound for the United States – further underscoring the Department’s commitment to layered security and the protection and facilitation of our citizens and travelers to the U.S.
Preclearance provides greater security for the aircraft and its passengers, as well as more timely information on travelers’ flight patterns to enable threats to be intercepted prior to arrival in the United States. Given continued challenges in the global security environment in the region, the ability to operate U.S. security programs prior to departure is a key capability. On his return, Secretary Johnson also toured operations and received briefings at the Dublin Preclearance facility.