ROUTES: Montréal-Trudeau prepares for growth

Washington DC
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Banking on expected growth in the US transborder and international markets, Montréal-Trudeau International airport has rolled out several projects to capture more passengers.

Airport operator Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) expects passenger traffic to grow an average of 2.7% over the next five years.

Last month, ADM debuted automated passport control kiosks for passengers travelling to the USA. The 12 kiosks, costing $1 million, were completely paid for by the airport operator as it aims to improve passengers’ experience when flying across the border.

Like most major Canadian airports, Montréal-Trudeau International is equipped with a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pre-clearance facility, which allows USA-bound passengers to clear US immigrations and customs in Canada itself.

The kiosks, located at the pre-clearance area, help to speed up this process, says ADM chief executive James Cherry. “We believe this is a key component of customer service,” he adds.

Catered for holders of US and Canadian passports, the kiosks verify a traveller’s passport details, identity and flight details. A passenger’s photo is taken at the kiosk and his or her passport is digitised. After a traveller is cleared by the kiosk, he or she receives a printed receipt which is verified by a US CBP officer. The traveller can then immediately proceed to his or her gate.

Previously, passengers had to stand in line at counters to be cleared by US CBP officers – a process that often led to long waits.

With the automated kiosks, Cherry estimates that the time taken by a passenger from entering the security screening line to clearing customs is slashed to about 20 minutes from an hour and 30 minutes during peak periods previously.

ADM is also in the process of adding six new gates at its international concourse, taking the number of gates there to 17. The new gates, equipped to handle widebody aircraft, are scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016. Two of the gates can handle the Airbus A380.