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Customs and Border Protection opens new aviation facility in Omaha

International travelers flying in to Omaha on private planes will have a more streamlined process when checking items through Customs.

Customs and Border Protection opened a new processing facility last month at TAC Air in Omaha. The facility has the full security required by the 9/11 Commission, including biometrics. Customs and Border Protection can also handle more passengers at one time at the new facility.

William Ferrara, director of field operations for the Chicago Field Office, says the process begins when Customs officials meet the aircraft on the tarmac. He says it’s handled the same as it would be at any international airport.

“We ask the same questions, we have the Customs Declaration, and we have the ability for those who need it to capture the biometrics. And then once we’re done with our inspection, and everything is fine, the passengers can leave and get back on the aircraft, or come here.”

Ferrara says flights that couldn’t land in Omaha before can now because of the new facility. For example, if a foreign national was on a flight, it would have to land elsewhere because Omaha didn’t have the security to process the passenger.

When the aircraft lands, Customs officials meet the plane in a secure area on the tarmac, and escort the passengers inside to process their items. If needed, the facility has search, interview, and holding rooms.

Last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Omaha processed 300 flights. They’ve handled 400 so far this year.