Luis Muñoz Marín Airport officials, along with local and federal tourism and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol personnel, unveiled a new $6 million Federal Inspections Station at Terminal B of Puerto Rico’s main air traffic hub.
The new station features 14 “Automatic Passport Control” units and secondary immigration and customs inspection areas.
“With this new immigration and customs processing format, low-risk international travelers pass through one checkpoint, expediting their entry to the island,” said Agustín Arellano, president of Aerostar Airport Holdings, which operates the LMM airport.
This new process as a whole allows more efficiency in the number of passengers processed per hour, which was estimated at 400, he said.
The new immigration and customs area offers three types of passenger service: fast track for Global Entry travelers, normal travelers, who will pick up their suitcase and may walk out of the terminal, and secondary inspection at immigration and customs. Those requiring secondary inspections, pass their luggage through an state-of-the-art X-ray machine, which will analyze and detect materials banned from entry due to federal regulations.
So far, the only airport that has a similar system is the Miami International Airport. However, there are similar Automatic Passport Control terminals installed inside the ferry that connects Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic, operated by Ferries del Caribe, this media outlet learned.
“Our operation is constantly evolving. We seek to acquire the latest technology systems and equipment so that it translates into greater efficiency in processing international passengers, and provides the best experience,” said Arellano.
Airlines with international flights that will be using the new immigration and customs facilities are JetBlue, Cape Air, Tradewind, Seaborne and Air Sunshine.
Mike Stine, director of Infrastructure JetBlue said “as the largest airline in Puerto Rico, our goal has been to continually improve the travel process for our customers, including approximately 350,000 international guests traveling with JetBlue through San Juan.”
jetBlue partnered with the Puerto Rico Ports Authority and Aerostar to build the new facility, covering the cost of half of the automated terminals.