YVR Moves To Shorten Wait Times

Kevin Molloy of Vancouver Airport Authority (right) and John Wagner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection assist a passenger using the newly revealed kiosks at YVR.

In a first-of-its-kind development, YVR has introduced automated kiosks which promise to cut wait times when travelling to the U.S.

This morning the Vancouver Airport Authority (VAA) unveiled a series of new automated kiosks, which will act as an expedited customers entry process for travellers coming from the Vancouver International airport to destinations in the U.S.

In a partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, YVR’s Automated Passport Control system is “taking a decades old process… and doing it in a creative fashion,” said John P. Wagner, acting deputy assistant commissioner of the office of field operations with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. While implemented in partnership with the U.S. CBP, the VAA developed and built out the technology.

The idea for a simplified customs process came up one year ago, when staff at YVR noticed increased waits in customs lines for U.S. flights. While officials estimate the average time travelers spend with border officials to be 1.5 minutes, these kiosks can be cleared in 10-15 seconds—hopefully achieving the goal of drastically cutting waiting times for travellers.

After announcing the system, travellers immediately began using the new kiosks, which will only be available to U.S. travellers for the next few weeks before being opened to Canadian passport holders, hopefully by the end of May 2013. While there is an eventual plan in place to expand the kiosks to all countries on the U.S. Visa waiver list (including Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Germany, among others) currently the program is “focused on the Canadian/U.S. border,” said Vancouver Airport Authority’s vice-president of simplified passenger travel and chief information officer, Kevin Molloy.

While YVR is the first airport in the world debuting the Automated Passport Control system, it is not the only place where this express-customs procedure will be in place. Molloy announced that Friday, May 3, 2013 Chicago O’Hare International Airport bought the Automated Passport Control technology from the VAA, with plans to roll out 32 kiosks by July 1, 2013.