U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on a Customs and Border Protection system outage Monday that caused hours-long delays at checkpoints nationwide. Several airports were affected by the outage, which started around 5 p.m. EST and ended around 9 p.m., according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Among airports affected were Miami International, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood (Florida) International, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, John F. Kennedy International (New York), Logan International (Boston) and Los Angeles International, according to news reports.
"What happened at Customs airport checkpoints yesterday is disturbing, but unfortunately it is not surprising. Technology at these facilities is too outdated to cope with existing travel volume, let alone the increased traffic we hope and expect to see at our gateway airports in years to come," said Dow.
"The headaches this inflicts upon American travelers is bad enough, but policymakers should be especially mindful of the effect on international visitors. The U.S. customs and entry process is already notorious for dissuading long-haul visitors from dealing with the hassle of coming here, and lost inbound travelers means lost export dollars at a time when our economy can ill afford that.
"A modern system is not only more efficient, but more secure," Dow added, "and both of those are very worthy priorities in the current security and economic environment. Let's not forget that we have seen this problem before, and it is all too likely we will see it again if we keep failing to learn from these mistakes."