As international passenger traffic booms, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is finding more ways to cope with crowds and lines.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced this week that FLL had been selected to participate in a program that would allow the airport or an airline to pay for officers to work additional hours. The airport still needs to enter into a formal agreement with the federal agency.
“CBP has finite resources, so this is the ability to deal with some of those finite restrictions that they have,” said Doug Webster, deputy director for the Broward County Aviation Department.
Webster said the program could allow the Fort Lauderdale airport to cover overtime if delayed flights were coming in after CBP officers went off duty. Without that flexibility, a flight would have to be diverted to another airport or canceled altogether, he said. The program could also help the airport deal with off-scheduled operations or new service.
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Miami International Airport, PortMiami and Port Everglades already participate.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport spokesman Gregory Meyer said FLL has seen international growth of about 30 percent year over year. The CBP solution, called the “Reimbursable Services Program,” would add to other measures the airport has pursued to ease wait times, including the addition of 20 automated passport control kiosks. A new federal inspection station is also under construction, Meyer said.
“It’s just another tool in our toolbox,” Webster said. “All these things are different components to deal with the rapid growth that we’ve experienced this year.”