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Study: Automated Customs Kiosks Significantly Reduced Wait Times At JFK

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A new study says automated customs kiosks at John F. Kennedy International Airport have reduced wait times so drastically that it is recommending them at all international terminals at New York area airports.

Global Gateway Alliance said the automated passport kiosks at customs in JFK airport, 40 of which were installed in October 2013, helped cut average wait times by more than half at Terminal 4 - from more than 36 minutes to just 17.

The study cites that the reduction in wait times came despite that the number of international passengers arriving through the terminal jumped by more than 300,000 over the same period last year.

Just last year, Terminal 4 had the worst wait times of the surveyed airports, with travelers waiting an average maximum of two hours and extremes of up to three to five hours.

The study says Terminal 4 also saw a significant reduction in wait times even when the greatest number of flights was arriving.

Wait times when eight or more flights were arriving at the same time dropped by an estimated 29 minutes compared with last year, the study said. Maximum averages were also cut by 60 minutes.

Global Gateway Alliance said its analyses demonstrates that additional staffing during the influxes of heavy passenger traffic also helped alleviate wait times.

"It's good news for millions of passengers that the public pressure brought on CBP (Customs and Border Protection) is driving down wait times, but the federal government has to make our airports a real priority to fix the problem for the long-term," Global Gateway Alliance Chairman Joe Sitt said.

"That means bringing new technology to automate the passport process to all of the terminals in the New York market, and providing  enough staffing to serve the biggest international arrivals airports in the country. Our airports are too important to the region's and the nation's brand to allow the horrific wait times passengers endured last year," Sitt added.

Average wait times at the other JFK terminals were also reduced year over year, but by substantially smaller amounts.

Global Gateway Alliance also called for additional Customs and Border Protection manpower to continue focusing on driving down wait times.

The new data also found that Newark International Airport now has the shortest wait times among the five busiest U.S. airports for international passenger traffic.

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