Imperial Pacific supports CPA to unveil Automated Passport Control machines


The Commonwealth Ports Authority, in collaboration with the Marianas Visitors Authority and Imperial Pacific International, on Monday unveiled seven Automated Passport Control machines that will help reduce the long lines at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport.

Four of the machines were purchased by MVA while IPI purchased three. Each cost $51,500.

In an interview, Acting CPA board chairman Thomas Villagomez said the machines will help reduce the long lines at the airport and help process travelers with U.S. passports or a U.S. business visa.

He said these newly arrived travelers don't have to fall in line at an immigration booth but can go directly to the machines for processing and clearance.

"We appreciate very much the assistance of our partners, MVA and IPI, for purchasing these important machines as they will expedite the processing of newly arrived visitors. Although there will still be lines, we will work together with our U.S. Customs and Border Protection to help further reduce the lines and make it easier and more convenient for our visitors."

MVA Managing Director Chris Concepcion said the machines can be used by U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and those with Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA which will benefit visitors from South Korea and Japan.

"There will still be long wait times, but with these new machines in place we expect those times to gradually go down," Concepcion added.

He said they will be informing their industry partners overseas so they can encourage visitors to apply for ESTA before they visit the Marianas.

But the machines cannot replace the manpower needed by CBP at the airport he added.

"We urge our partners at CBP and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to look into hiring more personnel for the CNMI. And we urge our partners at CPA to continue with their plan to implement a master plan for the Saipan airport which addresses the congestion found throughout the facility."

Present at the unveiling ceremony on Monday were CPA Executive Director Chris Tenorio, MVA Chris Concepcion, Margaret Cui Lijie, IPI Executive Director.

CPA Executive Director Chris Tenorio said: “On behalf of CPA, I would like to extend my appreciation to Imperial Pacific, MVA and all the sponsors for contributing the necessary resources to purchase the machines. Thank you Customs and Border Protection for working hand in hand with CPA to ensure that we address and resolve these issues without jeopardizing the CNMI’s security. Thank you also to the ad hoc committee for working diligently with federal and local agencies to help improve our airport facilities. We hope these machines will allow for a smoother flow of operations at the airport.”

Source: Marianas Variety