A long wait at U.S. customs
Steep budget cuts in the U.S. which affect the department of U.S. Customs and Border Protection are having an impact on air travellers.
People arriving to Trudeau airport to make flights to the U.S. are being greeted with long line-ups at customs.
Gazette sports columnist and CJAD contributor Dave Stubbs says it took him two hours to get to his gate Thursday morning. He says only nine out of a possible twenty-seven customs windows were opened.
"People were pretty wound up," he says, "and then you have the Americans going through who are complaining about Canadian incompetence, well it's U.S. customs, and I reminded a few of our neighbors to the south of that," he says.
Montreal airport authorities paint a bit of a different picture. They say operations are going well for now but that they are working with their U.S. partners to make sure the impact is minimized.
A spokesperson for U.S. customs tells CJAD in an email:
“Under sequestration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not be able to maintain its required staffing levels at our ports of entry. CBP reduced overtime this weekend at ports of entry around the country and effects are already visible. Lanes that would have previously been open due to overtime staffing were closed, further exacerbating wait times at airports with typically longer international arrival processes. In the coming weeks we will see additional impacts as the CBP hiring freeze and furloughs take place."
Airport officials are advising people of possible delays and recommending you get there early.