New technology to lower customs clearance times at Midway International Airport

30 October 2013 (Last Updated October 30th, 2013 18:30)

The Chicago Midway International Airport will introduce an automated passport control (APC) programme in the first quarter of 2014, for expedited customs clearance.

Chicago Midway International Airport

The Chicago Midway International Airport will introduce an automated passport control (APC) programme in the first quarter of 2014, for expedited customs clearance.

The programme enables travellers to move quickly through the US border clearance process by entering information at a touch screen self-service kiosk.

A statement from the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) said that the processing technology was implemented at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, leading to reduced wait times for passengers arriving at Terminal 5.

While Chicago was the first city in the country to implement APC kiosks technology, the latest announcement makes it the first US city to use the technology at two airports.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that this technology reinforces Chicago's leading position as a destination for business and leisure travellers.

"Passengers arriving at both Midway and O'Hare's Terminal 5 will experience shorter wait times, less congestion, and faster processing because of this innovative programme."

"Having two of the first airports in the US to implement this new technology demonstrates how serious we are about making Chicago the first, best and most welcoming city in the country," Emanuel added.

APC, which was developed by Vancouver Airport Authority (YVR) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), offers US and Canadian passport-holding passengers shorter wait times, less congestion, and faster processing.

The programme at O'Hare airport improved passenger experience at the international arrivals hall by increasing the flow of passengers through primary inspection. It also lowered CBP wait times and reduced the number of misconnects for travelers.

Passengers who are eligible and choose to use APC can proceed directly to a self-service kiosk in the CBP area, instead of filling out a declaration card.

After answering a series of questions at the kiosk, the passengers will receive a receipt, which is submitted to a CBP officer for verification.

APC eliminates the administrative responsibilities of CBP officers, who usually scan a traveler's passport and verify their paper customs declaration.

According to the initial CDA data, the average wait times during the peak hours were reduced by 16 minutes or 33%, while the number of passengers waiting more than 60 minutes was cut by 58%.

CDA commissioner Rosemarie S Andolino said: "Passengers arriving at both Midway and O'Hare's Terminal 5 will experience shorter wait times, less congestion, and faster processing because of this innovative program and the extraordinary cooperation between CDA, CBP and our airline partners."


Image: The automated passport control (APC) programme enables travellers to move quickly through the US border clearance process by entering information at a touchscreen self-service kiosk.