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New passport kiosks at MSP should speed up customs inspections for international travelers

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 8, 2014 - 7:04 AM

New automated passport kiosks recently installed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport should help passengers with U.S. or Canadian passports returning from foreign countries clear Customs faster.

Ten machines installed at Terminal 1-Lindbergh allow passengers to scan their passports and complete their declaration electronically. The kiosks spit out a receipt confirming the passenger's identity and flight information, which passengers then take to a Customs and Border Protection agent for final processing.

The machines allow several passengers to complete the first phase of the re-entry process simultaneously and in turn are expected to reduce the number of people who need a more rigorous in-person interview, said Melissa Scovronski, an airport spokeswoman.

"After a long international flight, the last thing travelers want is to face long lines in Customs,” said Jeff Hamiel, executive director/CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC). "This technology coupled with other recent improvements to our Terminal 1 International Arrivals facility make for shorter wait times, less congestion and faster flight connections."

An estimated 1200 people are expected to be eligible to use the kiosks each day, Scovronski said.

The airport plans to add 14 more of the kiosk next year, Scovronski said.

Their arrival comes as MSP has made several other improvements to the international passenger processing area. Last year the airport expanded the passenger queuing space, modified the area to allow for more natural light and expanded the baggage carousel capacity to be able to handle luggage off-loaded from flights that arrive at the same time.

More improvements are planned for 2015. The area's security checkpoint will be enlarged to help expedite the screening process for passengers who need to make connections at MSP, Scovronski said.

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