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Wed 25 Oct 2017 04:15 PM

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US-bound passengers from Dubai face stricter security measures

New US government directives mandate pre-screening interviews at the check-in counter

US-bound passengers from Dubai face stricter security measures
People wait in a security line at John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK). (Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Emirates airline passengers flying to the United States will be subject to new US government security measures beginning on Thursday, the airline confirmed on Wednesday.

In a statement, an Emirates spokesperson said that “our flights to the USA will be subject to further, enhanced security screening measures starting October 26th, 2017.”

“The new directive requires passenger pre-screening interviews at the check-in counter for originating passengers and at the boarding gate for transfer and transit passengers,” the spokesperson added. “These measures will work in complement with the current additional screening measures conducted at the boarding gate, including those for electronic devices.”

Emirates is advising that passengers bound for the United States from Dubai factor in additional time for their check-in and boarding procedures to their travel plans.

Around the world, airlines are reporting that they will begin taking similar measures on the same day. Approximately 325,000 passengers on about 2,000 commercial flights arrive in the United States every day, from 280 airports in 105 countries.

According to media reports, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has declined to comment on specific changes to security policies, with a spokesperson saying only that the US government is working with its partners to “raise the baseline on global aviation security and keep the entire traveling public safe.”

Saj Ahmad, an analyst with the London-based StrategicAero Research, said that it’s “likely we’ll see some low-level questioning about people’s travel plans, duration of stay, how much money they do or don’t have, and how they bought their ticket.”

“Other lines of questioning may include details on a person’s employment status, whether they are travelling alone or in a group/with family/friends and what the purpose of their travel is for,” he added.

Ahmad added that there may be a “knock on effect” in terms of processing passengers, which may add to delays at airports.

“That said, it is likely that with these new rule changes, the likes of Dubai International will probably make a play for a US Pre-Clearance Facility of its own like Abu Dhabi International has, to help adjust to these new security measures and screening processes to better manage time and be efficient.”

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