I’m just back from a whirlwind media tour in New York City. That probably sounds more glamorous than it was, but the purpose behind it was really important: Vancouver Airport Authority is having great success selling our homegrown border process technology – known officially as YVR’s BorderXpress Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks– to an ever-growing list of American airports.
Regular YVR customers heading to U.S. destinations or returning through the Customs Hall from overseas will probably be familiar with these kiosks. In YVR’s US Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) pre-clearance area, Canadian and American passport-holders can use a kiosk to quickly and securely cross the border, by entering your own data and scanning your passport. This has freed up US CBP Officers to focus on the most important part of the process – the inspection – and clear passengers about 89 per cent faster than in pre-kiosk days. APC has helped officers clear up to four times as many passengers than before. In fact, line-ups for US Customs at YVR have been virtually eliminated since these kiosks first rolled in May 2013, less than a year ago.
Since then, word of BorderXpress APC kiosks and their incredible efficiency and reliability has spread across the continent. As of today’s date, we have sold more than 200 kiosks to major American and Canadian airports, including Chicago O’Hare (our first customer), Montreal’s Trudeau Airport, Chicago Midway, Seattle-Tacoma, New York’s JFK Terminals 4 and 1, Charlotte, North Carolina and Ft. Lauderdale’s Hollywood airport in Florida. And just last week, we announced our biggest sale to date, to the world’s busiest airport; 74 kiosks are on order for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia.
Now, back to those media briefings. One of the facts about YVR that most surprised the reporters I spoke to was the fundamental difference between the Canadian and U.S. airport models. In Canada, airports are private companies – not-for-profit operating authorities that have no shareholders and receive no government funding; in fact, we pay rent to the government. And it’s because of this model that we have to foster an entrepreneurial spirit. We’re always looking for new ways to generate income that can be reinvested back into our airport to create jobs and economic value. APC is helping us do that.
Regardless of their business model, airports across North America are busy places, and they’re getting busier. We all face the challenge of border line-ups, and in an age of constrained budgets, tight connection times and tech-savvy passengers, we knew there had to be a solution, and APC is filling that niche.
In the weeks and months to come, this technology will continue to evolve. Along with more sales to more airports, other short-term plans include launching a companion app to further bust queues, and even introducing APC to seaports and other transportation hubs.
We’re really excited about what this technology means for airports, airlines, border protection agencies and most importantly, passengers. That probably means you. Give APC a try the next time you’re crossing the U.S. border at YVR, or one of our customer airports.
Safe – and speedy – travels.