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July 16, 2014

JFK Airport Kiosks Cut Wait Times by 33 Percent

JFK Airport.Automated passport kiosks have helped reduce wait times at New York and New Jersey Airports during the first six months of 2014, says a new study released by the Global Gateway Alliance (GGA).

The new Customs data showed that wait times have been reduced by approximately 33 percent at John F. Kennedy International Airport and more than 15 percent at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Average wait times at JFK's Terminal 4 decreased from 34 minutes to 17 minutes this year, cutting the average wait time nearly in half.  JFK Terminal 1 average wait times were reduced by 21% in spite of a 14% increase in passenger traffic.

At Newark International, average wait times at Terminal C dropped from 23 minutes to 18 minutes. GGA says further improvements an anticipated following the installation of 20 new kiosks last month.

The GGA survey focused only on New York area airports. It showed that other international arrivals terminals at New York metropolitan airports also experienced drops in wait times and shortened lines, reflecting an increased focus by Customs and Border Protection, the airlines, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on reducing what had been the longest Customs lines in the country.

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GGA made these additional recommendations for improving the passenger experience at Customs.

Implement Technology to Track Complete Passenger Time in Customs: The recent reduction in Customs wait times has given way to a new challenge. Passengers are spending this newly-saved time waiting for their luggage to arrive at baggage claim.

GGA is calling for the use of new technologies to collect passenger data using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi sensors and provide real time information. Individual passengers can opt in to being tracked from the time they exit the airplane until they leave the Customs area, creating a widely representative sample to know the true time it takes for passengers to move through the international terminals and what action is needed as a result.

Play Music in Terminals: GGA believes that music is a cost effective way to entertain arriving international passengers and ensure that they are made to feel welcome while they wait at Customs. Delta already instituted this at JFK’s Terminal 4 in April of this year.

Install Entertainment Screens: Entertainment screens and information at points throughout the Customs area would ease the experience for passengers waiting in line. GGA said taxis, theme parks, restaurants and other venues where customers spend a long time waiting already use this kind of amenity and have shown it to be effective.

GGA believes videos could challenge travelers to New York City and U.S. trivia, direct them to popular tourist destinations and foster positive impressions of the New York and New Jersey region. These platforms could also be used to create sponsor-generated content and additional revenue for airport modernization and infrastructure investment.

For more information on GGA visit www.globalgatewayalliance.org.


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