A delegation of civic and business leaders from Dallas and Fort Worth, including officials from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), toured Australia this week, promoting the Qantas-DFW route and announcing new services that will streamline the customs process for Australians visiting the U.S.
From May 2014, DFW’s automated passport control (APC) system, which was previously reserved for U.S. and Canadian citizens, will be expanded to include visa waiver countries like Australia.
“At DFW we have been working diligently to streamline the customs and immigration process for our international customers,” DFW Airport CEO, Sean Donohue, said.
To service international visitors using the APC system, an additional 24 kiosks will be added to the 30 primary immigration screening kiosks that were originally installed at the airport’s arrivals hall when the system launched in October last year.
“With 23 new nonstop international services and seven new international airlines beginning service at DFW in the last three years, including Qantas, our aim has been to make the international arrival experience beyond compare,” Donohue said.
Qantas currently operates a daily nonstop service to DFW and, since its inception in 2011, Australian arrivals to the U.S. have increased six per cent a year.
The regional economic impact of the Qantas air service to DFW is estimated at $200 million annually, while American travel to Australia, particularly Sydney, is expected to grow at a rate of 3.4 per cent.
“Qantas and DFW have responded to significant year-over-year demand and growth in the passenger and cargo traffic between Australia and North Texas with service expansion and route development,” said Donohue.
The 14-member delegation, led by Fort Worth mayor Betsy Price, were in Sydney yesterday, following three days in Western Australia to meet with government and business leaders in Perth and at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Conference.
“Our air service development mission to Australia establishes and expands on the many opportunities to strengthen the synergies between North Texas and Australia, especially in the growing energy and tourism sectors,” mayor Price said.
“North Texas’ economy outpaces the rest of the country, thanks to our excellent infrastructure, broad industry base and superb connectivity. We recognise similar economic growth in Australia and are excited to learn more about how we can best work together for mutual benefit.”
In its 40-year history, DFW Airport has grown into one of the world’s preeminent global hubs, now serving 60 million passengers annually and consistently ranking among the world’s best large airports for customer service.