Miami International Airport
Office of Public Affairs - P.O. Box 592075, Miami, FL 33159
Phone: (305) 876-7017 Telecopier (305) 869-1270

CONTACT: Lauren Gail
Associate Director of Public Affairs

Faster International Passenger Inspection Process, More Interceptions at Miami

MIAMI, January 8, 1997 - Since August 1995, when Miami Internation al Airport (MIA) became the only airport selected as a Reinvention Lab by U.S. Vice President Al Gore, international passenger clearance times have dramatically improved, while interception of contraband items has increased.

The MIA Reinvention Lab is working and the results are measurable. With improvements in passenger flow procedures, increased inspector hiring, training of employees and technological enhancements, MIA's passenger clearance times were carefully monitored during the Airport's busy summer months. At MIA's Concourse 'B' Customs facility, the average processing time in June 1995 was 1 hour and 15 minutes. In June 1996, it was reduced by 45 minutes, to an average of 30 minutes. At the Airport's Concourse 'E' Customs facility, clearance times were reduced from 1 hour and 5 minutes in June 1995, to 40 minutes during the same month this year. Peak arrival periods during the day experienced even more drastic clearance times, with decreases from 1 hour and 30 minutes to 33 minutes at the 'B' facility, and from 1 hour and 35 minutes to 45 minutes at the 'E' facility. All clearance times were measured from the 'block-time' (parking) of the arriving aircraft until the time passengers exited the Customs facilities. This includes deplaning, walking to the Federal Inspection areas (FIS), and clearance through Immigration (INS), Customs, Agriculture(USDA) and Public Health.

Enforcement at MIA, the country's second ranked airport for international passenger traffic, has also improved. The Lab and its innovations have helped yield more seizures of narcotics by Customs Inspectors, more interception of aliens by Immigration Inspectors, and more discoveries of dangerous pests by Agriculture Inspectors. During the 12-month period that ended September 30, Customs at MIA made 22 percent more heroin seizures and 39 percent more cocaine seizures over the previous 12-month period. USDA increased interceptions of plant material in baggage by 7 percent over the same period. The INS pilot project 'Port Court,' unique to MIA, has allowed a more effective INS enforcement posture and also acted as a deterrent to illegal immigrants. Other attributable features of the Lab include facility improvements; AT&T Language Line Translation Service (for passengers who need assistance in languages other than the 11 spoken by Aviation Staff); new signage; and U.S. Customs' penalty offset guidelines which allow airlines to invest funds destined for penalty payments into passenger processing enhancements. Further technological innovations are on the way, such as APIS (Advance Passenger Information System) which is already being used to process 67 percent of MIA's international airline passengers by identifying high risk passengers in advance.

For more information, contact Connie Bischoff at (305) 876-7862.

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