Montreal: Virtual Customs Officers to Clear Immigration Congestion at Trudeau Airport


Virtual Immigrations Officers, Hong KongEvent planners realize that the experience upon landing at a destination can color an entire corporate event or conference. You see, after passengers deplane and head to Immigration Hall it can be a frustrating experience. The last thing one needs after sitting on a flight for 13 hours or more is to stand in line for over an hour to see an immigration officer.

In an attempt to address the problem, Aeroports de Montreal spent $4 million to purchase 18 kiosks and set up an automated border clearance system at Trudeau. The system, which was first used in anticipation of the large crowds for the Montreal F1 Grand Prix in early June, was announced to the public over the weekend.

Authorities at Trudeau Airport have re-assured the public that automating the process will not jeopardize border security. Immigration Officers review manifests for each flight before it lands to identify passengers that pose a potential security risk. They are earmarked for further screening.

CBSA agents are on hand to show passengers how to operate the units that process passports and customs declaration forms. Passengers show kiosk receipts and documents to a CBSA agent before leaving Immigration Hall. (This is the same process that was in place before automation). At that point, some passengers are sent for further screening while most are directed to the luggage carrousels.

"For those passengers who used the kiosks and weren’t stopped for customs inspections, it took about 40 minutes to go from the exit of their aircraft to the sidewalk outside the airport."

Hong Kong has used similar technology for some time now (see photo above). The kiosks aren't as cute as the ones in Hong Kong but Trudeau Airport is one of only two North American airports that use this technology. Vancouver International Airport has had this system in place since the 2010 Winter Olympics.

For more information about clearing airport lines, read 7 Tips to Help You Sail Through the TSA Line and New TSA Programs Offer Less Intrusive Airport Screening.

Photo Credit: joeywan

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