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Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, has welcomed the installation of 20 additional automated border crossing kiosks at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, which are expected to further reduce the processing time for airline passengers.

The new additions have increased the processing points at the facility to 66, inclusive of 30 automated border crossing kiosks and 36 regular immigration officers.

Dr. Chang, in a message delivered by Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Rohan Richards, at a graduation ceremony for 20 immigration officers at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on December 6, said the kiosks will further reduce wait times in the immigration hall.

“The figures show that wait time within the immigration hall has dropped from a three- to four-hour (timeline) to under 80 minutes during peak times…I am equally pleased to know that the introduction of these additional 20 kiosks will result in a 15 to 20 per cent reduction in wait times in immigration hall time during peak hours,” he said.

During peak time, the immigration officers process between 1,800 and 2,500 passengers per hour.

Chief Executive Officer, Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), Andrew Wynter, said additional supporting technology will be implemented to assist border security personnel to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

A release from PICA said that the machines will ensure speedier and efficient processing of passengers through immigration, with traveller interaction with the system to average approximately 60 seconds.

“This represents a significant reduction in the average processing time of two minutes when passengers interact directly with an immigration officer,” the release said.

It said the kiosks will automate the processing of incoming passengers at the Montego Bay airport where an average of two million arrivals occur on an annual basis.

The provision of kiosks at the airport form part of PICA’s overall strategic objective of satisfying cross-border travellers, through enhanced travel facilitation.

The Sangster International Airport is operated by MBJ Airports Limited.