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NBAA Partnership With CBP Pays Off for Members
To facilitate international business aircraft flights, NBAA continually works to build a strong relationship with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Thanks to the effective partnership between NBAA, CBP and other industry groups, compliance with Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) requirements to submit aircraft and passenger information in advance of international flights has consistently been over 99 percent. This level of compliance has impressed CBP officials and enabled NBAA to make progress on other initiatives that will streamline the customs clearance process while maintaining a high level of security.
For example, after advocacy by NBAA, the process for screening aircraft for radiation during the customs clearance process was modified. Now, to facilitate quick turns, aircraft systems may remain powered during the inspection process. This change has already proven to be successful at Ireland’s Shannon Airport (EINN), which has full CBP preclearance capabilities for business aircraft. What was previously a 90-minute CBP preclearance process at Shannon has been reduced to 45–60 minutes. With the ability to keep aircraft systems powered, operators no longer need to re-enter flight plan data or risk warning messages when the aircraft is powered up.
Over the coming months, NBAA plans to build on its positive relationship with CBP by working with the agency to review other requirements, such as the mandate for business aircraft arriving from the southern border to stop at designated airports before proceeding to their final destination. Although CBP does offer an “overflight exemption” that allows operators to avoid the additional stop, the exemption process can be cumbersome.
Now that all private aircraft are required to transmit APIS information for international flights, CBP has a substantial amount of data on the aircraft and its passengers before the flight departs for the US from abroad. This data enables CBP to conduct a complete threat analysis and makes the special southern-border requirements duplicative.
Knowing what to expect during the customs clearance process is something that both CBP and NBAA believe pilots deserve. To that end, CBP has committed to developing guidance for operators that clearly spells out the clearance process. More importantly, CBP will distribute to all ports internal guidance that mirrors the information provided to operators. By providing complimentary documents, the goal is to increase consistent treatment by ports.
Doug Carr, NBAA vice president for safety, security & regulation, explained, “Our goal is to build relationships with agencies such as CBP so that we can be engaged during the policy development process and ensure that business aviation is well represented. When we succeed in building these relationships, NBAA can be proactive in working with agencies to develop successful policies before they are released.”
A seminar to address the common challenges faced by operators transporting passengers across the Canada-U.S. border will be held December 8 and 9 in Toronto, Ontario. The event will bring together experts on cross-border issues, including government officials, aviation attorneys and international service providers. Representatives from agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Canada Border Services Agency have been invited.
Attendees will learn how to:
- Understand the economic and regulatory issues that pertain to cross-border flights;
- Utilize trusted traveler programs in Canada, such as CANPASS, and comply with U.S. Advance Passenger Information System requirements;
- Apply industry best practices for working with air charter brokers to arrange flights;
- Understand cabotage restrictions and their impact on flights within the U.S. and Canada;
- Develop best practices for clearing customs in both countries based on feedback from regulators.