Landrieu hopes to improve custom efficiency - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Landrieu hopes to improve custom efficiency

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WASHINGTON (KNOE 8 News/Landrieu Press Office) - U.S. Senator Mary AL. Landrieu, D-La., chair of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, held a roundtable on improving airport efficiency for increased international tourism to the U.S.

Sen. Landrieu brought together airline leaders and federal safety regulators to discuss on how to improve international travelers experience into the U.S. with a strong emphasis on maintaining strong security. Roundtable participants included: DSS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayor, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gail Keri, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Assistant Commissioner John Wagner, American Association of Airport Executives President and CEO Todd Chaplin and seven airport directors, including those from New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

During the last five years, international visitors to the U.S. have increase by 12%. As a result, many airports are insufficiently staffed to process the increase in visitors. During the discussion, airport directors described average wait times with customs of one to two hours during peak travel.

“I come to work every day and I think, ‘what can I do to create jobs?’ Providing international travelers with reasonable wait times in a safe and responsible way can create thousands of jobs. If an international traveler’s experience going through customs is not timely and efficient, they may be reluctant to come back to the U.S.,” Sen. Landrieu said. “Our discussion was a good step toward finding some creative and responsible solutions to increase travel and tourism to the U.S. In my home state of Louisiana, visitors spent $10.8 billion last year, helping to create jobs and boost our economy.”

“Senator Landrieu has proven to be a very effective leader on promoting travel and tourism in our country over the years, and her focus on some of the serious challenges that gateway airports are currently facing with CB staffing and growing wait times to process arriving international passengers is both welcomed and appreciated,” said Todd Chaplin, President and CEO of the American Association of Airport Executives. “The airport community looks forward to continuing our work together with Senator Landrieu and the leadership of DSS and CB to find solutions to these challenges that ensure the United States remains a welcoming place for international visitors, who help fuel economic activity in our country.”

The American Association of Airport Executives represents members from 18 Louisiana airports.

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