April 05, 2016

US Homeland Security official visits Hawaii to discuss possibility of pre-clearance in Narita

Kevin McAleenan, deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, visited Hawaii to talk about the possibility of establishing a pre-clearance facility at Japan’s Narita International Airport in Tokyo.

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii. met with McAleenan and officials from Narita here in the Islands, she told PBN.

Under the pre-clearance system, passengers will be able to undergo immigration, customs and agriculture inspection by U.S. Customs & Border Protection prior to boarding their direct flight to the U.S. This means the process is much quicker when passengers arrive in the U.S.

Narita would be the first East Asian airport to offer the service. Narita is one of 10 new airports the U.S. government is hoping will offer the service.

Last year, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said the new service would help the tourism industry and bring relief to Honolulu International Airport.

Hirono also said she discussed the possibility of reestablishing Kona as an international airport. “They were much more flexible about what kind of facility we are going to need in Kona,” she said. “The state is pushing for this and said it would pay for it itself.”

Japan Airlines last flew to Kona International Airport on the Big Island in 2010, but the facility has not been able to accommodate new international flights since because of its outdated Federal Inspection Service site.

A new federal inspection facility at Kona is part of Hawaii’s airport modernization plan, but it could be years until it’s built.

By:  Kathleen Gallagher
Source: Pacific Business News