Scottsdale Airport has seen U.S customs and immigration use increased by 53 percent this past year, since expanding customs hours and adding a second agent.
Expanded customs service began in February 2014 when two additional hours were added each day; service is now available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
When airport officials expanded customs service, the goal was to make Scottsdale Airport more viable as an international business destination. The change appears to be working with 786 aircraft processed from February 2014 through January 2015, up from 513 in the prior 12 months.
Pilot Lindsey Stemp with JNL Homes LLC says, “With the expanded hours and days, we have been able to streamline our operations and planning. We clear on average two to three times per month, and thus we have been able to reduce trip times, and operating costs by not having to clear at another port of entry.”
The bulk of users originate from Canada and Mexico, but Scottsdale serves as a gateway welcoming commerce and visitors into the region and access for outward travel as well. In fact, there are more visitors coming from other countries, like Peru, Chile, London, Aruba and Egypt.
The expanded service cost $162K, but the airport recovered those costs in about nine months ahead of what was anticipated. Users pay for this service based on the size of their aircraft up to $750 per use.
Airport Advisory Commission and Scottsdale Mayor and City Council fully supported this initiative to provide more amenities to users of Scottsdale Airport.
“Scottsdale is constantly seeking ways to offer amenities, convenience and ease of access to encourage international general aviation traffic through Scottsdale Airport,”says Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane. “The uptick in customs uses shows Scottsdale’s appeal as a port of entry.”
In turn, these visitors contribute a significant amount to the overall $43.9 million spent by air visitors last year off the airport.