Return of clearance services for arriving international flights comes at no cost to the federal government thanks to collaboration among aircraft operators, airport management and government officials.
Van Nuys Airport (VNY) announces the successful launch of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) services for arriving international flights that will benefit business travelers, fuel the local economy and reduce airspace congestion in the Southern California region.
A dedicated 1,528 square-foot clearance facility officially opened on May 21, 2015 under the federal User Fee Airport Program, which reimburses CBP for all operating costs with fees collected from arriving aircraft. Housed at Signature Flight Support, it has successfully cleared nearly a dozen since its opening.
One of the world’s busiest general aviation airports, VNY had been without CBP officers since 2007 when on-call customs clearance services were suspended at all airports within the Los Angeles basin except Los Angeles International Airport. Over the past six years, VNY management has worked in close collaboration with airport tenants and key stakeholder groups to reestablish CBP services at the general aviation airfield.
“Van Nuys Airport is one of the most important civil aviation hubs in the country,” said U.S. Congressman Tony Cárdenas. “After years of advocating the return of customs services, I am proud to say that it is now the only general aviation airport in Los Angeles with an on-site Customs and Border Protection facility. I am very pleased about the jobs that the new Customs station will create, both at Van Nuys Airport and for airport customers throughout the San Fernando Valley.”
The return of CBP services adds significant convenience for arriving international travelers, who can fly directly to VNY without stopping first at another airport to clear customs. In addition to saving private jet travelers time and money, the service benefits the environment by reducing emissions from repositioning flights and decreasing overall operations within Southern California’s congested airspace.
"This new asset at Van Nuys Airport will allow the airport to provide more efficient aircraft operations benefiting business, the environment and the public alike," said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez. "Van Nuys Airport is a major economic engine that benefits working families in our community."
As a designated User Fee Clearance facility, VNY is assigned a full-time customs agent to process arriving international aircraft, passengers and cargo. Signature Flight Support, which advanced approximately $225,000 to construct a dedicated clearance facility, is responsible for collecting user fees and making payments to LAWA that are then submitted to CBP for staffing and operational costs.
The dedicated CBP facility features an interview room, inspection room, office space and a high level of security, similar to that found at our nation’s large commercial airports. Facility user fees charged to arriving aircraft have been modeled to fully offset facility improvement and operating costs. Hours of operation are Thursday through Monday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Requests for services outside these normal operating hours are available but must be arranged with CBP. Users of this new service are strongly encouraged to submit their request services as early as possible.
“Signature is proud to host the new U.S. CBP office on our leasehold,” said Maria Sastre, president and chief operating officer for Signature Flight Support. “We truly appreciate our partnership with Los Angeles World Airports and the Van Nuys Airport Association to implement services that benefit both users of business aviation and airport stakeholders.”
VNY’s proximity to downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood and LAX, combined with the addition of CBP services, makes it the ideal destination for business travelers. The airport’s four fixed based operator facilities offer a full range of services and amenities including modern passenger lounges, fueling services, maintenance support, and aircraft hangar and tie-down areas.
“Having U.S. Customs and Border Protection services at Van Nuys Airport is a great example of how local support can produce improved services at airports across the country,” said Van Nuys Airport Manager Jess Romo. “Working with our partners, Signature Flight Support and other major airport tenants, Los Angeles’ business airport will now be even more appealing and convenient for international travelers.”
Landing rights at VNY are available with advance reservation by emailing the CBP at firstname.lastname@example.org. Flights desiring to arrive outside of these hours must make arrangements with CBP in advance. For requirements and more information, visit cbp.gov/travel/pleasure-boats-private-flyers.
About Van Nuys Airport:
VNY is one of three airports owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), a self-supporting branch of the City of Los Angeles, governed by a seven-member Board of Airport Commissioners who are appointed by the mayor and approved by the Los Angeles City Council.
One of the world's busiest general aviation airports, VNY serves as a valued San Fernando Valley resource, providing ongoing leadership in general aviation, business and community service. Dedicated to noncommercial air travel, VNY had over 232,000 operations in 2014. More than 100 businesses are located on the 730-acre airport, including three major fixed base operators and numerous aviation service companies.
Annually, the airport contributes approximately $1.3 billion to the Southern California economy and supports over 12,000 jobs. In addition, VNY provides programs to benefit local residents, along with educational initiatives and aviation-related career and training opportunities. For more information, visit lawa.org/vny, like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/VNYOfficial, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/VanNuysAirport and Instagram at instagram.com/vannuysairport.
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