Vancouver International Airport is using home-grown innovation to improve air travel across the globe with the award-winning BorderXpress, and the world is taking notice.

BorderXpress is the world’s first self-service border-control solution that accepts passports from all countries and doesn’t require pre-registration or fees. It automates the administrative functions of border control with a two-step process that is fast and easy. BorderXpress uses self-service kiosks to expedite the border-clearance process, resulting in shorter waits for travellers, fewer missed connections, and cost and space savings for airports.

BorderXpress was developed by Innovative Travel Solutions, a business unit at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) with more than eight years of experience in improving and automating border-control systems at airports across North America. This includes kiosk design, user experience, layout and flow analysis.

CAPA Centre for Aviation recently named YVR’s BorderXpress self-service border solution the 2015 Airport Innovation of the Year. Announced at the CAPA World Aviation Summit in Helsinki, Finland, this prestigious award recognises the impact of YVR’s industry-leading border clearance solution on travel experience at airports around the world.

Awards season
Canada’s second busiest airport, YVR is a growing international hub, and was voted Best Airport in North America for the sixth consecutive year and Best Airport in the World for its size category of 10-20 million passengers in the 2015 Skytrax World Airport Awards. Much of this success is a result of YVR’s core value of innovation.

Innovation is built into Vancouver Airport Authority’s entrepreneurial business model. Created in 1992, the not-for-profit authority operates YVR, reinvesting all excess revenue back into airport development. This approach helps ensure that YVR can continue to be a leading gateway airport, a sustainable hub, and a source of economic growth and employment for the community it serves.

YVR was the first airport to tap into self-serve kiosk technology for common-use check-in. In 2009, it introduced the first BorderXpress application for Canada Border Services Agency, followed by an application for US Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) in 2013.

BorderXpress kiosks are currently being used in 25 airports across Canada, the US and the Caribbean, collectively helping more than 75 million passengers safely and quickly clear the border while reducing customs wait times by 50%. YVR also introduced APC kiosks at the port in Vancouver for US-cruise-bound passengers, continuing to make every travel experience more efficient and hassle-free.

Managing traffic, increasing passenger flow
This self-serve technology benefits airports by allowing them to increase international arrival traffic and reduce wait times – all without having to add additional space. For example, the number of travellers processed by USCBP at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has grown 30%, from 1.35 million passengers processed in 2013 to an expected 1.75 million by the end of 2015. The average border wait time, however, has decreased over the same period by 25%.

YVR has developed solutions for two countries thus far and is now setting its sights on other countries that could benefit, given that the technology can meet the immigration needs of any government in the world. Work is currently underway with a number of government agencies and airport authorities in Europe, Asia and Latin America to introduce the BorderXpress technology to their countries and major airports.

The solution’s latest kiosk technology offers an updated and modern design, complete with additional biometric capabilities. As with previous generation kiosks, the new kiosk is fully accessible to all travellers and can be programmed to provide service in up to 37 languages.

As airports around the world seek to implement BorderXpress kiosks, YVR will continue to produce innovative solutions to assist border-processing facilities in increasing passenger traffic, reducing wait times and ensuring a positive travel experience.