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NBAA Members: Is the Sequester Impacting Your Customs Services?

April 1, 2013

Looming control tower closures may be the most publicized effect from budget sequestration on business aviation, but funding cuts to other government agencies may carry additional ramifications for the industry, and NBAA wants to hear from its Members about the issue.

Pilots entering the country may be the first to experience significant effects at Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as the impact of the sequester, or across-the-board cuts to government agencies, takes hold. For example, staffing reductions throughout that agency, including at U.S. ports of entry, may lead to longer processing times for aircraft flying into the United States.

“We're already seeing reports of backups at certain airports, and the potential exists for widespread delays throughout the country,” noted Doug Carr, NBAA's vice president for safety, security, operations & regulation.

“Each port director will be reviewing work loads and allocating available staff. While it’s unclear when NBAA Members may feel effects from the sequestration, we should all be prepared,” Carr added.

NBAA remains engaged in talks with multiple federal agencies on ways to mitigate the impact from the sequester on business aviation operations. NBAA Members may assist those efforts by reporting any delays or other unusual situations at U.S. entry points to the Association at ops@nbaa.org.

“We will collect that information and utilize it in our ongoing dialogue with CBP about the best allocation of resources,” Carr said.

Members are also encouraged to be proactive in anticipating the potential for delays, and to call ahead to their port of entry airport for current information about processing times. If pilots do experience a delay in processing, they should not attempt to force the issue.

“Regardless of delays, no one should leave the aircraft prior to CBP inspection,” Carr advised. “While it is understandably frustrating to be stuck on the ground, exiting before receiving approval from CBP agents will only lead to confrontation and cause additional delays.”

Have you experienced delays at port of entry airports? Let NBAA know by emailing comments to ops@nbaa.org.