A new United States Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Station will be open to the public at the Capital Region International Airport on Tuesday, May 26, 2009. A brief program of speakers featuring local and federal officials is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., and will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new $4.3 million, 17,500 square foot facility located at the east end of the main terminal. The airport will offer rare public access and free tours to many operations including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic tower, airport police and fire operations, general aviation facilities and UPS operations.
“The Capital Region International Airport is now officially a gateway to Michigan for international travel,” said Robert Selig, Executive Director of the Capital Region Airport Authority. “Growth in the air passenger industry today is focused on international flights. We expect commercial airlines will soon begin offering direct access to worldwide travel from the Capital Region International Airport because this new U.S. Customs facility is open.”
The Capital Region International Airport is the only international airport in Michigan outside Detroit with a full-time US Customs Federal Inspection Station. The new inspection station will be able to process up to 200 commercial airline passengers per hour.
The airport opened Port Lansing in June 2008 as an official international port of entry into the country with an interim facility for U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the west end of the airport terminal building to help process international general and corporate aviation passengers and airfreight. Freight shipments into the state enjoy avoiding slower customs processing operations than at other Michigan airports.
Construction of the new U.S. Customs facility was completed ahead of schedule and on budget. In recent years, the Capital Region International Airport has been the site of nearly $20 million in airport improvement projects that included extending the main airport runway to 8,500 feet.