Jan. 22, 2016
As more business aircraft operators travel to and from foreign countries, finding ports that can accommodate after-hours arrivals is becoming more of a challenge. But a program started by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in 2014 offers a growing number of ports an opportunity to help fund inspections, and applications to join the program will be accepted starting Feb. 1.
The Reimbursable Services Program (RSP) is a partnership between CBP, businesses and other government agencies whereby CBP provides after-hours inspection services when needed. The program – which is authorized under Section 559 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 – provides customs, immigration and agricultural processing at ports where those services are either unavailable or not available after the port’s normal working hours. CBP partners cover the costs of personnel, administration and transportation.
“There is work involved, but it’s a great opportunity for operators at some airports that are having problems with after-hours CBP clearance,” said Doug Carr, NBAA’s vice president of regulatory and international affairs.
In the first 18 months of RSP operations, CBP said it has entered into agreements with 20 ports, including more than a dozen airports nationwide. Among them: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), George Bush Intercontinental Airport (ICT), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Orlando International Airport (MCA) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).
“CBP realizes that, with the growing amount of international travel, their workload is increasing,” said NBAA Senior Manager of Security and Facilitation Sarah Wolf. “While CBP is the second biggest revenue source for the government, behind the IRS, they can’t use the money they collect to facilitate operations. So here’s an opportunity for operators at ports to perhaps address unmet inspection needs.”
CBP offers the RSP program to 10 ports each year. This year, the application process begins Feb. 1 and interested parties must submit a letter of application no later than 5 p.m. (EST) Feb. 29. The agency then considers the impact that the request would have on CBP operations, whether the request has support from the community, and if the requested inspections would have a measurable benefit to the local, regional and national economy.
Successful partnership applicants must agree to reimburse CBP for all costs associated with the services provided, including agent overtime, a 15 percent administrative fee and the cost of transporting agents to and from the requested site.