DFW upgrades cut wait times

DALLAS/FORT WORTH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Texas - Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has launched some new services for international travelers: The facility is the only US airport that offers Aut

DFW upgrades cut wait times

DALLAS/FORT WORTH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Texas – Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has launched some new services for international travelers: The facility is the only US airport that offers Automated Passport Control with automated passport processing for eligible international travelers, customers from all 38 visa waiver countries, customers with only carry-on bags and Lawful Permanent Residents (citizens with “green cards”).

“Since the implementation of Automated Passport Control, we have seen great results with more than 70 percent of all international customers automatically processed through the APCs,” Sean Donohue, CEO at DFW Airport, said in a statement. “Working in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, we have been able to shorten wait times for international travelers passing through CBP even with an 8.46 percent increase in overall passenger traffic.”

Most recently, DFW expanded the APC technology from 30 self-processing kiosks to 51; launched Carry E-Z lines in the International Arrivals Hall, enabling international customers traveling without checked bags to clear the CBP arrival area in one step and move directly to the landside concourse bypassing the baggage claim process; instituted automatic processing for citizens from all 38 visa waiver countries in cooperation with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and became the first (and, so far, only) U.S. airport to begin automatic processing of U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents (citizens with green cards). DFW also offers Global Entry with 20 automatic processing stations also recently expanded.

DFW was recognized by President Obama in May for leveraging technology to reduce wait times by nearly 40 percent with its APC kiosks. The President ordered the technology to be implemented at the nation’s top 25 airports.

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DFW has not only developed new systems and services, but is working to address every step in the process once an international passenger lands. On July 15, DFW expanded CBP baggage egress from 7 to 13 positions and the Terminal D22 checkpoint will grow from four to six lanes to better accommodate international passengers connecting on other flights.

DFW’s Automated Passport Control, a proprietary system first implemented last fall is part of an overall passenger facilitation strategy which includes a total of 51 kiosks that speed up the entry process. DFW’s APC is also processing more than 70 percent of arriving customers with an average processing time of 14 minutes or less.

“Now, all of our 51 APC kiosks are capable of handling US citizens, Canadian visitors, Visa Waiver customers and LPRs…and it’s making a big difference in the customer experience,” Donohue said.

In its first few months, DFW’s APC was processing about half of DFW’s international arrivals. On June 21, DFW saw the highest international passenger entries ever in one day as more than 12,500 international travelers entered the U.S. at DFW with over 9,100 of these travelers, or 73 percent, processed through DFW’s APC. June also saw another milestone achievement for DFW with total travelers processed by APC exceeding one million since its automated system was implemented last October.

In addition to the latest new services, DFW has worked with federal agencies, legislators and industry partners to implement innovative solutions to improve the customer experience and facilitate processing international travelers, including early adoption of federal trusted traveler programs (Global Entry and TSA Pre-√), payment of some overtime costs for CBP officers, and support for additional staffing for CBP starting next year.

For the summer season running from June 1 through August 31, DFW expects to accommodate 17 million customers, which would make the summer of 2014 the busiest summer ever at DFW and 2.4 percent above the same period last year.

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