U.S. Customs Agency Unveils New Facility at Tucson Airport

Dec. 7, 2020

Dec. 4—The iconic air traffic control tower at Tucson International Airport is now home to a new customs facility.

Officials with Customs and Border Protection and the Tucson Airport Authority unveiled the facility on Friday, which came after a $1.8 million renovation of the 1950s-era tower that has T-U-C-S-O-N in large letters on its exterior.

The tower, at 7081 S. Plumer Ave., went largely unused after air traffic controllers moved to a newer tower on the west side of the airfield in 2016, according to the Airport Authority. Until recently, customs officers worked out of the main terminal, which presented congestion and parking problems.

"We are excited for CBP to be in their new facility at Tucson International Airport. Their new facility provides a great first impression for our arriving international customers," Danette Bewley, TAA president and CEO, said in a news release.

"The location and the appealing atmosphere of the facility truly welcome business leaders and VIPs to TUS when arriving to our Port of Entry."

"We could not be happier with the new location," U.S. Customs and Border Protection's director of field operations, Guadalupe Ramirez, said in the news release. "This expansion will allow for future growth of international flights into our area, adding a boost to the economy."

The airport is a designated port of entry that receives international passengers and cargo that customs officers must inspect.

Customs officers at the airport processed nearly 2,000 aircraft arrivals in 2019, along with more than $1.1 billion worth of international merchandise. They also conducted more than 8,225 Global Entry and SENTRI interviews, according to the Airport Authority. The earliest availability for Global Entry appointments is April 2021.

The Airport Authority, a nonprofit organization that operates the airport, paid for the renovations and provides the facility to CBP rent-free, which is typical for leases by federal agencies at airports, according to the Airport Authority.

Contact reporter Curt Prendergast at 573-4224 or [email protected] or on Twitter @CurtTucsonStar

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