At a news conference held at DFW, officials report wait times for arriving international passengers cut from “hours” to “minutes” thanks to CBP investment.
Shorter wait times have become the norm at airports like Dallas-Fort Worth International (DFW) as participation in the Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Global Entry program increases, according to airport representatives.
DFW’s executive vice president, Jim Crites, told the Dallas Morning News that the program, combined with more staff and greater technology, is taking passengers from hours-long lines to get into the country, to what will be measured in “minutes” by the busy summer travel period.
“We’re anticipating those average waiting times during the peak being 15 minutes or less,” said Crites, speaking at a news conference on Tuesday along with CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske and American Airlines Vice President Paul Morell. According to Crites, the program has “turned around the wait situation at U.S. airports.”
International arrivals are expected to increase 5 percent annually through 2020. Crites credited congress with seeing the increase in international travel demand rising and approving funds for 2,000 new CBP officers and investment in technology as an important investment for passengers.
American, the largest operator at DFW, recently announced it would pay the $100 fee for its flight attendants and pilots to join Global Entry. This allowed crews to get out of the lines so that TSA could process passengers more quickly.
The real “game changer,” according to Kerlikowski, was the technology, including the 20 Global Entry kiosks at DFW and mobile passport control systems. “More people are enrolling in Global Entry,” said Kerlikowski. “That means that our customs officers spend less time doing data entry and more time focusing on the risks that we want them to do. It also means that you, the traveler, can come into the country faster.”
[Photo: Customs and Border Protection]