ACI-NA Facilitation Committee Presses CBP Staffing and Streamlining Issues

The Facilitation Committee addresses issues related to the facilitation of international travel and trade through improvements in government and industry approaches to international cargo and passengers.  Byford Treanor, III, DFW, serves as Chair and Ron Lewis, Orlando, serves as Vice Chair of the Facilitation Committee.          

 The ACI-NA Facilitation continues to work on issues related to CBP staffing and procedures, Federal Inspection Services (FIS) facilities, user fee airports and contingency planning for diverted flights. 

In late April, the ACI-NA Facilitation Committee achieved one of its objectives when the Department of Homeland deleted the list of countries (mostly in North Africa, Middle East and South Asia) whose citizens are required to comply with the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) upon arrival in and departure from the United States.  This effectively eliminates the NSEERS requirement. ACI-NA has been urging CBP to terminate the NSEERS requirement since CBP began taking biometrics of arriving foreign visitors and collecting passenger data prior to aircraft departure.  ACI-NA argued that the process was duplicative and its elimination would improve passenger facilitation and use CBP Officers more effectively.  It also means that the NSEERS passengers are no longer confined to leaving from specific U.S. airports.

 Also in late April, ACI-NA and ATA staff met jointly with key officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to express strong concerns about staffing for the 2011 summer season.  In a follow-up meeting in June, at the request of ACI-NA and ATA, staff and some member airports and airlines met with CBP to discuss how to mitigate the impact of inadequate CBP staffing during the summer season and beyond.  Several ACI-NA members are experiencing long wait times for primary inspection and problems accommodating flights outside of standard operating hours.

 Also in June, ACI-NA and ATA sent a joint letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees supporting the President’s budget proposal for 300 additional CBP Officers and urging that FY2011 funding levels for overtime and information technology be maintained.