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May 22, 2014

President Obama to tout DFW Airport's automated passport system in tourism speech

IMG_0842President Obama will be touting Dallas/Fort Worth Airport's automated passport system in a travel and tourism speech he is giving this afternoon in Cooperstown, N.Y.

DFW Airport installed its automated system last fall to help ease long lines in its customs hall. Last summer, travelers sometimes waited more than three hours to move through customs. The average wait time have been reduced from 30 minutes to 15 minutes.

The president will announce that he has signed a presidential memorandum to improve the entry process and reduce wait times for international travelers based on the progress that DFW Airport and Chicago O'Hare airport have achieved with their systems. The goal is to have the 15 largest airports for international arrivals to streamline processes and use new technology similar to DFW.

According to a White House report issued Thursday, 70 million international travelers visited the U.S. in 2013, up from 55 million in 2009. On average, an international visitor spent $4,500 per visit to the U.S.

At DFW, international arrivals have increased 39 percent in the past four years, the most for any top 20 airport during that time period. 

"The airport partnered with [Custom and Border Protection] not only on queuing, signage, passenger flow, Global Entry, and Automated Passport Control kiosks, but also on a reimbursable agreement for enhanced CBP services," the report said. "The results have been tremendous."

-Andrea Ahles

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