Only on 2: Long Lines at Reno's U.S. Customs & Borders - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Only on 2: Long Lines at Reno's U.S. Customs & Borders

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Two weeks ago, we told you about the direct Thomas Cook Airlines flight between Reno and London being canceled. Thomas Cook blamed the cancellation on the lack of U.S. Borders & Customs Agents at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. 

When we arrived back from Guadalajara, Mexico last week, we saw the problem firsthand.

At the Reno location, located just north of the airport's C Terminal, there are typically three full-time agents. However, on the day we arrived there were only two. This means there were two agents responsible for checking the passports of the entire Volaris flight. That's nearly 170 passengers. 

We were towards the front of the line, and we still spent an hour and 20 minutes going through customs. Passengers at the end of the line waited much longer, over two hours. 

This is the exact reason why Tomas Cook decided to cancel their flights to the region. Their planes can fit 300 passengers, and with only three agents, Thomas Cook feared their customers would have to wait over three hours, just to pass through customs. 

"U.S. Customs & Border Patrol has got to step up their staffing here in Reno,” said Christopher Baum, President of the RSCVA. “That has to be addressed. Until we are able to accommodate more international flights, we cannot go after more flights."

The airport agrees. 

"Right now, we are not able to grow our international air service because we are limited by number of people processing the flights," said Marily Mora, President/CEO of the Reno Tahoe Airport Authority. 

U.S. Customs & Borders and the airport are two separate entities. Customs & Borders is funded federally, so staffing decisions are made at a higher level. 

This is the real issue: how can U.S. Customs & Borders justify getting more agents when there are only two international flights a week? But how can the airport bring in more international flights without a sufficient number of agents?  

It's your classic Catch 22. We have not heard of any solutions to this problem yet, but we do know the Airport Authority is working behind the scenes to find a way to bring in more agents. 
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