Business Traveler (USA) - - UPFRONT -

You know, the motto of Van­cou­ver is, “By air, land and sea, we pros­per.”So, for ex­am­ple, we’re tied with San Fran­cisco for the num­ber of flights to China a week. A lot of them were new last year. And this year, they’re full. The econ­omy of Canada and the US is gen­er­ally good and that’s an­other 500,000 pas­sen­gers. We’ve grown by about a mil­lion pas­sen­gers a year.

As an in­ter­na­tional tran­sit point be­tween other coun­tries, what changes are you work­ing on to make life eas­ier for the global trav­eler?

It’s kind of an ob­scure phrase,‘tran­sit with­out visa.’You could fly from San­ti­ago, Chile to Van­cou­ver, dis­em­bark – you don’t have to have a visa for Canada – and then get on your flight to Shang­hai. It’s just way more con­ve­nient for a busi­ness trav­eler, or even for leisure. Who wants to get two visas?

Good for the trav­eler; what’s in it for Van­cou­ver?

This would re­ally take us to the next level to be­come a real hub for busi­ness and leisure travel be­tween Asia and the Amer­i­cas. I think we’ve fi­nally got our fed­eral gov­ern­ment to un­der­stand this is a good idea. And there’s very, very low risk.

The global na­ture of travel at Van­cou­ver has led you to pi­o­neer Au­to­mated Pass­port Con­trol tech­nol­ogy. How did you get into that?

In 1996 when we opened the new ter­mi­nal we were one of the first air­ports in North Amer­ica to have com­mon-use check-in. So in­stead of hav­ing three banks, you’ve got one bank of re­us­able coun­ters, which then led to the self-ser­vice kiosks. Then we took that tech­nol­ogy and built th­ese for Canadian cit­i­zens ar­riv­ing back in Canada. And they worked pretty well. So three years ago our team started work­ing with US Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion.

What about con­cerns that au­to­ma­tion will com­pro­mise se­cu­rity? US Cus­toms, Canadian Cus­toms, all the agen­cies – do your jobs. And I think they’re to a point now where they re­al­ize it doesn’t have to be ei­ther/or. I don’t think there’s a di­chotomy be­tween speed and se­cu­rity. They can work to­gether.

Are you sur­prised at how quickly th­ese kiosks are be­ing adopted?

For the last year, we’ve been sell­ing like the iPad of the air­port world. Every­body wants one. If some­body had said to me two years ago, There’s go­ing to be this kiosk that gets peo­ple through US Cus­toms four times as fast, nat­u­rally I would’ve said, I need to see that. Now that it’s hap­pened, you couldn’t take th­ese ma­chines out of th­ese air­ports. They’ve changed the ex­pe­ri­ence.

If APCs have changed the ex­pe­ri­ence to­day, what does that bode for fu­ture air­ports?

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