Living up to its designation as a Model Port, Orlando International Airport (MCO) has become the first airport in the nation to use biometric self-service kiosks for overseas, Visa Waiver arrivals.
The user-friendly Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks adopt a “land, touch, go” concept that will allow eligible passengers to complete their Customs Declaration Form on the touch-screen machines, in addition to having their passports scanned, fingerprints captured and photograph taken by a camera that automatically adjusts to the height of the passenger. Passengers meet eligibility requirements if they:
- Reside in one of the 37 visa waiver countries
- Have entered the United States at least once since 2008
- Have prior Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval
Once their information is collected, it is transmitted instantly to Customs & Border Protection (CBP) computers for processing. A receipt with the passenger’s information and facial image is then provided for CBP clearance. The program requires no pre-registration process or fee.
“The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) has a dynamic history of being at the forefront of technological advancements and using them to enhance the travel experience,” says Frank Kruppenbacher, Chairman of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. “This reinforces our commitment to customer service and making Orlando International Airport one of the world’s most welcoming airports.”
Orlando International Airport currently offers non-stop service to 36 international destinations. Travelers arriving from those countries represent 10 percent of the airport’s total passenger traffic. With that number likely to increase, it is essential GOAA remains proactive in focusing on methods to increase efficiency and reduce passenger wait times. Streamlined processing will also enable CBP to focus more on inspection and less on administrative functions.
“Orlando is the first airport in the nation to pioneer a new generation of self-service APC kiosks designed to help automate the arrival process for international Visa Waiver Visitors,” said John P. Wagner, Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner in CBP’s Office of Field Operations. “Our partnership with Orlando International Airport is dramatically improving the facilitation—and, critically, the security—of international travel.”
These biometric APC kiosks were developed in close collaboration among team members from GOAA, CBP, SITA and their international team members. GOAA contributed to the funds for development, provided guidance from an airport perspective and served as the operational test site. The result of this exemplary cooperative effort reinforces Orlando International Airport’s status as a premier global gateway and promotes The Orlando Experience®.
“This would not have been possible without our Board’s willingness to invest in the project and the collaborative efforts of John Wagner and the CBP, along with SITA and Vision-Box,” says Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. “It introduces innovative technologies to meet a real world need.”
A period of testing and fine-tuning began in late January and the system is now fully operational. The ten APC kiosks are currently in service and available for international flights processed through the Federal Inspection Station located at Airside 4. Two million international passengers arrived at Orlando International Airport in 2013, with 26% of that total coming from the United Kingdom.
Source Orlando International Airport