Airlines and DHS at odds over 'exit' program

Both the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the US Air Transport Association (ATA) object to a proposal by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that would set up an "exit" program at U.S. airports. It would require air carriers to fund and manage the collection of fingerprints from non- US citizens departing the United States.

"The US-VISIT Exit plan should be terminated now," says ATA President and CEO James C. May. "Not only is the rulemaking proceeding not justifiable, it is purely and simply against the law." May continued: "DHS seems intent on ignoring Congress' clear direction that the Department be responsible for fingerprint collection, and DHS continues to unfairly try to shrug this responsibility onto the airlines. Additionally, by its own estimate, DHS proposes to burden the airline industry with more than $3 billion in additional expenses over the next decade - this action is indefensible."

IATA Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani, said the program would result in significant and unnecessary delays in passenger processing, disrupt connections at airports throughout the world, and cost the airline industry $12.3 billion over 10 years. Bisignani added that the exit program would "impose yet another duplicative, complex and costly mandate on the back of the industry."