O'Hare First to Implement New Technology for Expedited Customs Clearance

CHICAGO, May 7, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) announced that Chicago O'Hare will be the first airport in the United States to implement Automated Passport Control (APC), an innovative program developed by Vancouver Airport Authority and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to help travellers move more quickly through the U.S. border clearance process by entering information at a self-service kiosk.  Vancouver Airport Authority revealed the new kiosks and technology earlier today at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in a joint launch of the APC program with CBP.

"This technology will help expedite customs processing for passengers arriving to O'Hare, further strengthening Chicago as a global destination," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Being the first airport in the U.S. to implement these advances demonstrates how serious we are about making Chicago the first, best and most welcoming city in the country."

Instead of filling out a declaration card, passengers who are eligible and choose to use APC can proceed directly to a self-service kiosk in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection area.  Travellers will be prompted to answer a series of questions at the touch screen self-service kiosk.  Once passengers have completed the series of questions, a receipt will be issued. Travellers then bring their passport, travel information and receipt to a CBP officer for verification.  APC does not require pre-registration, is easy to use and maintains the highest levels of protection when it comes to the handling of personal data or information.  As a result, travellers will experience shorter wait times, less congestion, and faster processing but will also be assured that the safety and security of passengers, employees and visitors remains a top priority.

"We are very excited to provide the Automated Passport Control system for international travelers arriving to Chicago," said CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino.  "I want to express our appreciation to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Vancouver Airport Authority, as well as our airline partners for their assistance and cooperation in bringing this new technology and better customer experience to O'Hare. We are fully committed to making Chicago O'Hare 'best in class' by continuing to invest in our facilities and adding award-winning concessions and new services that elevate the overall passenger experience."

The CDA is planning on installing 32 kiosks at Chicago O'Hare by July 1, 2013, in time for the busy summer travel season.  The program seemed a logical fit for O'Hare to address some issues with customs processing. The APC increases the productivity of the CBP officers and resources by transferring data collection duties to passengers in line.

"Vancouver Airport Authority is thrilled to have signed a Letter of Intent with Chicago Department of Aviation to provide software technology and self-service kiosks to Chicago O'Hare," said Larry Berg, President and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority.  "Vancouver Airport Authority prides itself on developing innovative ways to simplify the passenger experience.  We are proud that we were the first airport to launch Automated Passport Control and now we are able to help Chicago become the first airport in the United States to implement Automated Passport Control."

By continuing to streamline the CBP process and provide a high quality visitor experience for the millions of international passengers and returning U.S. citizens who travel through O'Hare, the CDA is focusing on having the necessary resources in place to keep pace with the expected growth in international travel in the years to come.  Doing so will allow Chicago to remain a leader in the global marketplace.

About Vancouver Airport Authority Vancouver Airport Authority is a community-based, not-for-profit organization that manages Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Canada's second busiest airport, YVR served 17.6 million passengers in 2012, facilitated 261,000 takeoffs and landings and handled 227,000 tonnes of cargo. Sixty-eight airlines serve YVR, connecting people and businesses to more than 120 destinations worldwide. Vancouver Airport Authority is a dedicated community partner and in 2012, donated over $650,000 to community organizations. We are committed to creating an airport that British Columbia can be proud of: a premier global gateway, local economic generator and community contributor.

About Chicago Department of Aviation The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is self-supporting, using no local or state tax dollars for operations or capital improvements at O'Hare and Midway International airports. Together, Chicago's airports generate more than $45 billion in annual economic activity and create 540,000 jobs for the region. Both airports hosted more than 85 million passengers and one million flight operations in 2012. More than 70 passenger and cargo airlines operate at Chicago's airports, providing service to more than 200 destinations worldwide. O'Hare is also a leader in the global air cargo industry - handling an average of 1.5 million tons of cargo each year. In addition, the ongoing O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP) creates up to 195,000 new jobs and adds $18 billion to the region's economy. Please visit www.flychicago.com to learn more about the Chicago Department of Aviation.

SOURCE: Vancouver Airport Authority

Copyright 2013 Canada NewsWire Ltd.

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