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Houston Airports Partner With CBP

January 8, 2014

Houston Airport System
Houston Airport System's Chief External Affairs Officer Saba Abashawl (left) joins CBP Acting Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski at the Washington, D.C. signing ceremony.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently finalized a public-private partnership agreement with the Houston Airport System (HAS) to support growing international travel with expanded services on a reimbursable basis under authority of Section 560 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013. 

The use of reimbursable services will have a goal of reducing wait times by adding resources during peak passenger processing times. A record-breaking 8.7 million international passengers traveled through George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in 2012.

"The Houston Airport System actively seeks out new ways in which to partner with U.S. Customs & Border Protection leaders in working to alleviate wait times for arriving international passengers, says Saba Abashawl, Chief External Affairs Officer for the Houston Airport System. "We view the 560 Program as an investment opportunity and we are confident that the investment will pay significant dividends for both the local economy as well as the city's quality of life."

The partnership is not intended to replace existing services, but the reimbursement agreement will give CBP more flexibility to accommodate requests to supplement existing services. The reimbursable services authority is a key component of CBPs Resource Optimization Strategy and will have a positive impact on the nations economy by enabling use of extra CBP services to improve wait times and customer service.

Our ability to transform what we do at the borders depends on strong buy-in from our private-sector stakeholders, said CBP Acting Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski at a signing ceremony held Dec. 19 at CBPs Washington, D.C. headquarters. Weve developed a comprehensive strategy to optimize our resources at our ports of entry. We will work closely with our private-sector partners on every opportunity to enhance services.

The Houston Airport System was one of only five entities chosen to enter into the agreement; Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport, The City of El Paso, Texas, South Texas Assets Consortium and Miami-Dade County also signed agreements. The agreement became effective January 2014.
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