Sun Sentinel Broward Edition

Cus­tom-made im­prove­ments

Faster US en­try, walk­ways, shade for the Fort Laud­erdale air­port

- By Ken Kaye | Staff writer

Re­lief is fi­nally on the way for pas­sen­gers forced to wade through long cus­toms lines at Fort Laud­erdale-Hol­ly­wood In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

In the next few days, about six more in­spec­tion sta­tions are be­ing placed in the Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion bag­gage claim area, al­low­ing of­fi­cers to move pas­sen­gers more quickly to­ward the exit.

In June, U.S. cit­i­zens and legal res­i­dents can take ad­van­tage of Mo­bile Pass­port, a mo­bile app that al­lows trav­el­ers to sub­mit pass­port and cus­toms dec­la­ra­tion in­for­ma­tion via a smart­phone or tablet. That will al­low them to quickly claim

their lug­gage and de­part the air­port.

In June or July, au­to­mated pass­port con­trol will be ex­panded to al­low for­eign trav­el­ers to use kiosks to en­ter pass­port in­for­ma­tion. Cur­rently, only U.S. cit­i­zens and legal res­i­dents can do so. That will in­crease the num­ber of trav­el­ers who can use au­to­mated pass­port con­trol from about 60 to 90 per­cent.

And by 2017, the in­spec­tion area in Ter­mi­nal 4 will be re­mod­eled and ex­panded by 35,000 square feet, dou­bling its size and ca­pac­ity. As a key part of that, the con­gested bag­gage claim area will triple in size.

“The in­spec­tion process will be sig­nif­i­cantly chang­ing,” said Doug Web­ster, the air­port’s deputy direc­tor. “We will be us­ing a dif­fer­ent con­cept, which lever­ages au­to­ma­tion and tech­nol­ogy.”

He added that con­struc­tion work will be done in phases and shouldn’t in­ter­fere with the cur­rent cus­toms op­er­a­tion.

The cus­toms area is one of sev­eral ma­jor projects planned or un­der­way at the air­port, in­tended to make travel faster and eas­ier. Be­cause it sees about 5,800 in­ter­na­tional pas­sen­gers per day — and has been plagued with waits of more than two hours — it has be­come a top pri­or­ity.

In all, the air­port is spend­ing about $50 mil­lion to im­prove the cus­toms area in Ter­mi­nal 4. A sec­ond fed­eral in­spec­tion area is to be built in Ter­mi­nal 1 by 2017.

Cus­toms spokesman Keith Smith noted that av­er­age wait times al­ready have been cut by about five min­utes since Jan. 1, de­spite about a 20 per­cent in­crease in in­ter­na­tional traf­fic so far this year.

“It’s mainly be­cause of in­creased ef­fi­ciency,” he said.

The sta­tus of other air- port projects:

Side­walk canopies: Alu­minum canopies to pro­vide shade and shel­ter against the el­e­ments have been in­stalled on the up­per-level side­walk be­tween ter­mi­nals 1 and 2 and be­tween ter­mi­nals 2 and 3. The canopies be­tween ter­mi­nals 3 and 4 are to be erected by June. The air­port wants it done quickly. “It gets pretty warm down here,” said Steve Wies­ner, the air­port’s as­sis­tant direc­tor of avi­a­tion.

Ter­mi­nal ren­o­va­tions: All four ter­mi­nals are be­ing mod­ern­ized with airy lob­bies, new car­pet­ing, new restau­rants and shops, up­graded bath­rooms and ex­panded seat­ing ar­eas. Some al­ready have got­ten new jet bridges, lead­ing from the ter­mi­nal to the air­craft door. While Ter­mi­nal 3 is al­most done, no com­ple­tion date has been set for Ter­mi­nal 2, and Ter­mi­nal 1 is to be done by May 2017. Be­cause it will dou­ble in size, Ter­mi­nal 4, pri­mar­ily cater­ing to in­ter­na­tional traf­fic, is a stand­alone project with the first phase of con­struc­tion to be com­pleted in July and the sec­ond in early 2018.

New restau­rants: In a ma­jor up­grade to dining op­tions, 80 restau­rants are to steadily move into the four ter­mi­nals within the next three years. About half al­ready are open, such as Café Ka­lik in Ter­mi­nal 4, Star­bucks in Ter­mi­nal 2 and Shula Burger in Ter­mi­nal 1. How­ever, some are in tem­po­rary lo­ca­tions. Many will open within the next year, such as Out­back, Tar­pon Bend, An­thony’s Coal Fired Pizza and Jack Nick­laus Golden Bear Grill. Ad­di­tion­ally, sev­eral popular re­tail stores will open in the ter­mi­nals, in­clud­ing Har­ley-David­son, Fos­sil, Guess, Dy­lan’s Candy and PGA Tour.

Bet­ter signs: All of the air­port’s signs are to be stan­dard­ized within the next two years to more clearly di­rect pas­sen­gers to their air­lines and mo­torists to the park­ing garages. Of note, the air­port will start work this sum­mer to in­stall dy­namic il­lu­mi­nated signs along the air­port en­trance road to note which air­lines are in which ter­mi­nals.

Pedes­trian bridges: Four pedes­trian bridges, con­nect­ing the park­ing garages to ter­mi­nals 2, 3 and 4 are to be up­graded and re­painted, start­ing in Au­gust.

New taxi­ways: Two par­al­lel taxi­ways are be­ing built; one is to be com­pleted this week and the other in Septem­ber. Wies­ner said they might re­duce air­craft noise. “Th­ese should al­low air­craft to get around the air­field quicker,” he said. “They give us a lot of flex­i­bil­ity.” kkaye@tribpub.com or 561-243-6530.

 ?? PHO­TOS BY MIKE STOCKER/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER ?? Pas­sen­gers pass by the new side­walk canopies be­ing in­stalled be­tween ter­mi­nals 3 and 4 at Fort Laud­erdale-Hol­ly­wood In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The alu­minum struc­tures will pro­vide shade and shel­ter from the el­e­ments.
PHO­TOS BY MIKE STOCKER/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER Pas­sen­gers pass by the new side­walk canopies be­ing in­stalled be­tween ter­mi­nals 3 and 4 at Fort Laud­erdale-Hol­ly­wood In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The alu­minum struc­tures will pro­vide shade and shel­ter from the el­e­ments.
 ??  ??
 ?? MIKE STOCKER/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER ?? The side­walk canopy be­tween ter­mi­nals 3 and 4 is ex­pected to be com­pleted by June.
MIKE STOCKER/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER The side­walk canopy be­tween ter­mi­nals 3 and 4 is ex­pected to be com­pleted by June.

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