WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — With the addition of new international flights in and out of T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, the transportation hub on Friday unveiled a newly renovated customs area.
The airport now offers 14 international flights a week, serving about 2,100 passengers. The new renovations will help employees process those passengers more efficiently and with a higher level of security, according to William Ferrara, director of field operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“This facility today didn’t look anything like this six months ago,” Ferrara said. “It’s a brand new facility in the footprint of the old facility. A little bit of expansion, and it was done to increase the volume of travelers that can come into Warwick, come into Rhode Island, come into our neighborhoods.”
Automated passport control kiosks will now handle the administrative portion of international travel, allowing Customs and Border Protection officers to spend more time focusing on security.
“We can have an officer be more productive and especially be more efficient,” Ferrara said. “The security level is actually higher because they’re talking to the person and they’re looking at them directly and they’re engaging with them.”
Passengers can also sign up ahead of time for global entry, a pre-screening process that includes a TSA pre-check and a pass to the front of the line.
“You process yourself, you get your slip and you walk past an officer,” Ferrara explained. “You hand them a slip, maybe some questions, maybe not, and you walk out the door.”
T.F. Green is already looking ahead and talking about constructing an even bigger international customs facility so it can process even more passengers. Officials expect that project to be completed in the next three to five years.