U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) together with the Houston Airport System (HAS) are announcing the arrival of Automated Passport Control (APC) technology that is improving traveler facilitation and security of international travel.
Twenty self-service kiosks are now operating at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and are available for use to U.S. and Canadian citizens who are arriving aboard international flights. The system expedites the processing of arriving passengers by allowing them to enter required data using touch-screen technology, as opposed to hand writing the information on a traditional card.
“The Houston Airport System is among a leading group of 10 international airports that value both excellence in customer service and security. Their partnering with CBP to bring this technology to Houston illustrates that commitment,” said Judson W. Murdock II, CBP Houston Director of Field Operations.
The APC kiosks are already having a significant impact on shortening the length of time required to clear the necessary CBP processing steps. Passengers simply place their passport on the scanning pad located on the kiosk and then provide answers to a series of basic questions. That data is then sent electronically to one of the screening officers on duty, minimizing both the effort required from the passenger and the chance for mistaken information to enter the system.
The kiosks arrive to Houston at an especially important time, since IAH handled a record number of international traffic in 2013. Last year, almost 9 million international passengers traveled through George Bush Intercontinental Airport and that number represents an increase of almost 300 percent in the past 20 years alone.
“George Bush Intercontinental Airport plays a key role in making sure that Houston is connected on a global scale,” says Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz. “That level of connectivity is important to our city, both from an economic standpoint as well as culturally. As a result, it’s absolutely essential to lead international travelers through the arrivals process in the most efficient manner possible.”
The Houston Airport System and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have recently launched several different partnerships designed to expedite the arrivals process for international passengers. The City of Houston stands as one of the most active areas in the country in regards to participation in the Global Entry program. IAH is one of only two airports in the nation to offer expedited entry through a program called OneStop and Houston was the first city chosen to be a “Model Port of Entry”.