Relief coming for long customs lines at Dulles Airport

(WJLA) - Relief is coming for international travelers who are tired of being stuck in long customs lines at Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Thursday that an additional 40 customs officers will be hired, trained and assigned to the airport to help process arriving international passengers more quickly and alleviate some of the long lines.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) recently wrote a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and CBP asking for an explanation for the exceptionally long lines and wait times commonly experienced by passengers arriving at Dulles.

According to Warner's office, in his letter, Warner noted that Congress recently provided CBP with additional resources to fund an additional 2,000 officers nationwide, and he strongly encouraged additional and more flexible CBP staffing at Dulles to "minimize unacceptable delays."

After recruitment and training, the additional 40 officers will begin working at Dulles sometime during 2015, Warner's office said.

The senator reportedly praised CBP's announcement.

“I am pleased that CBP today has recognized that the long lines endured at Dulles by Virginia business travelers and international tourists alike is simply unacceptable and must be addressed," he said in a statement. "An additional 40 customs officers is a good first step and should help reduce wait times and ensure a smoother, faster entry process.

“However, there is still more to be done," Warner added. "I will continue to press CBP to coordinate more closely with the Airports Authority to synchronize work schedules with international flight arrival times. With most of these new officers not scheduled to report for duty until next year, we also need to find ways to provide some relief during this year’s busy summer travel season.”

Jack Potter, president and CEO for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, also expressed gratitude for the additional workers.

“We thank Senator Warner and everyone involved with this effort to enhance service to the traveling public," Potter said.