Cablegate: Halifax Preclearance: Bangor Withdraws Objections

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. The City Council of Bangor, Maine, unanimously approved late
October 25 a resolution to withdraw opposition to Halifax
International Airport's (HIA) application for preclearance. The
Council also authorized the City Manager and Airport Director to
sign an agreement with HIA on joint marketing. These efforts
will focus mainly on expanding regional air service and traffic,
but will also include broader economic development and tourism
marketing. In the end Bangor reportedly indicated that it had no
concerns about originating preclearance, but insisted on an
undertaking in writing from HIA that it would never seek
in-transit preclearance. Betting that Bangor would ultimately
withdraw its objections, Halifax recently committed itself to
beginning an expansion project that will -- if preclearance is
approved -- create a new dedicated area for U.S. DHS personnel.
HIA anticipates that the earliest this C$70 million facility
facility could be ready would be late 2006; a spring 2007
opening date is more likely.

2. The Council's consensus decision came despite what we were
told was a major last-ditch effort to derail it or delay it
until after the November 2 election. Bangor's next step will be
to communicate its action to Maine's Senators and Member of
Congress. HIA anticipates hosting soon a meeting to get a joint
marketing council up and running. Airport CEO Reg Milley plans
to travel to Ottawa October 26 to brief Foreign Affairs and
press for the inclusion of Halifax preclearance on the next
Ridge-MacLellan meeting agenda.

3. COMMENT: Bangor's action comes after a major effort for
close to two years on the part of HIA to address concerns over
lost business if preclearance comes to pass. HIA had been
prepared to offer to indemnify Bangor for lost revenue, but in
the end the Council reportedly did not insist on it. The
airport terminal expansion project, which will only be completed
if preclearance is approved, could generate significant business
opportunities for U.S. firms. A Trade Lead on the project has
already been filed by FCS Halifax. END COMMENT.

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