George Bush Airport introduces automated passport control technology

17 February 2014 (Last Updated February 17th, 2014 18:30)

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has launched automated passport control (APC) technology at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) with the Houston Airport System (HAS).

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has launched automated passport control (APC) technology at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) with the Houston Airport System (HAS).

The new technology is aimed at improving traveller facilitation and security of international travel.

As part of the new initiative, 20 self-service kiosks have been installed at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and are available for use to US and Canadian citizens who are arriving aboard international flights.

"That level of connectivity is important to our city."

The system makes it possible to quickly process the arriving passengers by allowing them to enter the required data through touch-screen technology, instead of the hand writing information on a traditional card.

CBP Houston director of field operations Judson Murdock II said: "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."

According to HAS, the APC are already having a significant impact on lowering the length of time required to clear the required CBP processing steps.

To use the kiosks, passengers have to place their passport on the screening pad located on the kiosk and then answer a series of basic questions. The data is sent electronically to one of the screening officers on duty.

This minimises both the effort required from the passenger and the chance for mistaken information to enter the system.

Houston aviation director Mario C Diaz said: "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 new kiosks will enable the IAH to better handle the growing international passenger traffic.

The airport handled record 9 million international passengers last year, which represents an increase of 300% in the past 20 years alone.