U.S. bound international passengers will now enjoy a faster and
smoother passport clearance process, as some of the major airports
are now being updated with Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks.
The self-service kiosks, which were in the process of being
installed over the past one year, streamlines the passport
clearance process and promises to enhance the flyers
Passengers travelling to the U.S. often have to wait in long
queues to gain passport clearance which tends to ruin the entire
flying experience. According to International Air Transport
Association (IATA), the number of international air travel
passengers will touch 1.45 billion by 2016. Growing numbers will
naturally translate into more issues with regard to customs
The long wait will now be over for passengers, thanks to the APC
kiosks which will replace the traditional process of filling out
declaration and customs forms. The APC kiosks utilize advanced
technology by computerizing the border control process, which will
protect border security while facilitating rapid customs
APC follows three simple steps, which include responding to
certain on screen instructions, and subsequent verification of the
passport and the passenger's identity. At the end of the process,
each traveller gets a receipt, which needs to be presented to the
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer for final processing.
According to CBP, this process considerably reduces the average
wait time through the primary inspection area.
Air transport IT specialist SITA was the first to market the
kiosk based on its state-of-the-art technology, which shortens the
customs scanning procedure by offloading the work from immigration
counters to self-operated kiosks. Vancouver Airport Authority in
association with CBP also develops the units based on its
The first phase of APC program was launched in May 2013 at
Vancouver International Airport and was limited to U.S. citizens.
The second phase began in Nov 2013 and was expanded to Canadian
citizens, while the last phase stretched the eligibility to
travellers from 38 countries that are part of a visa waiver
The kiosks are funded through a public-private partnership
between CBP and the carriers, with
Delta Air Lines Inc.
United Continental Holdings Inc.
) being the major players.
Delta Airlines has already installed such fully automated kiosks
in several of its hub airports like Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles,
Minneapolis, New York-JFK and Seattle. The premier carrier has
installed 20 such kiosks in Boston, with 10 more in Boston and an
additional 14 in JFK to be installed by this summer. United
Continental has also started the process by installing 20 such
kiosks at its Newark Liberty hub.
The regularization of APC will benefit CBP, airports and
travellers to a great extent. For CBP, the self-service kiosk will
ensure an enhanced immigration processing capacity by allowing
immigration officers to focus only on specific persons of interest.
Meanwhile, airlines will have more space and resources to utilize
and reduce errors owing to immigration processing delays, thus
reducing their operating cost.
However, we believe the passengers will leverage the most from
these multilingual APC kiosks. Apart from reducing the wait time
for immigration, the APC kiosks will ensure an overall hassle-free
travel experience for international fliers.
Delta Airlines sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while United
Continental carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). One can also consider
Southwest Airlines Co.
American Airlines Group Inc.
) which hold the same Zacks Rank as Delta Airlines.
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research?
Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days.
Click to get this free report
SOUTHWEST AIR (LUV): Free Stock Analysis Report
DELTA AIR LINES (DAL): Free Stock Analysis
UNITED CONT HLD (UAL): Free Stock Analysis
AMER AIRLINES (AAL): Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.