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New Indianapolis Customs Facility a Local Advocacy Success Story

Dec. 2, 2013

Indianapolis International Airport (IND) has opened a new general aviation (GA) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility at the International Arrivals Building.

NBAA Member Company Cummins Inc. was the leader of the two-year long initiative to convince CBP to rebuild the existing facility. Several other Member Companies in the Indianapolis area, the Indianapolis Airport Authority and NBAA’s Security Council also participated in the effort.

“This new facility is the result of over two years of discussion and collaborative efforts among many stakeholders of the greater Indianapolis area,” said Jason Mowrey, captain of corporate aviation at Cummins Inc. “We believe many safety and efficiency concerns for the general aviation community and for CBP officers at Indianapolis Airport have been addressed by opening this facility.”

Until March 2011, general aviation traffic in-bound to IND from foreign locations cleared Customs at the International Arrivals Building. That’s when the airport’s Customs functions were moved to the Federal Inspection Station at the main terminal because the facility at the International Arrivals Building was deemed noncompliant with the existing airport technical design standards for general aviation facilities.

The GA community was concerned with several safety issues that resulted from that move. The new Customs location also created significant inefficiencies for general aviation aircraft operators and the local CBP office. The Indianapolis Airport Authority, local CBP office and GA operators in the Indianapolis area worked together for two years to determine modified standards to meet the needs of the general aviation community, while maintaining an acceptable level of security.

The NBAA Security Council is working to improve CBP services for aviation at airports across the United States, and it generally discourages the use of airline facilities for GA operations because of safety concerns for general aviation passengers and CBP officers. By avoiding crossing into busier, congested areas of an airport dominated by airline traffic, GA operations stay safer.

“NBAA’s Security Council is anxious to partner with local Customs officials and airport authorities to increase the efficiency of Customs-related functions while maintaining or improving the overall level of security of international general aviation flights inbound to the U.S.,” said NBAA Vice President, Safety, Security, Operations & Regulation Doug Carr, who serves as liaison to the Security Council. “We believe we can find ways to more responsibly use CBP’s resources, enabling the agency to focus on identified threats.”

NBAA Security Council member Greg Kulis applauded the opening of the new facility at Indianapolis International.

“The successful opening of the new facility is a perfect example of how collaboration among flight departments and local and federal government can improve safety, security and efficiency for all involved,” said Kulis. “Local advocacy can lead to great success stories.”