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DFW Airport getting 40 more agents to reduce waits at customs

Dallas/Fort Worth Airport will get 40 additional customs and Border Patrol agents to help lessen lines as passengers enter the U.S.

But the new agents will not be ready in time for the busy summer travel season, CEO Sean Donohue said at the airport’s monthly board meeting Thursday.

“This is very good news,” Donohue said, adding that it increases customs staffing by 20 to 25 percent.

Although the airport would like to have the new agents in place as soon as possible, Donohue said, it takes about 18 months to hire and train agents at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Last summer, travelers waited up to three hours in lines at DFW’s customs hall. Passengers flooded social media with videos and photos of lines that stretched down several hallways toward the arrival gates.

To speed up the process, the airport unveiled an automated passport control system last year.

It allows U.S. and Canadian citizens to answer questions on a computer kiosk instead of being interviewed by a customs agent.

Thirty kiosks have been operational since October.

In their first three months of operation, they were used by more than 320,000 passengers, or about 55 percent of arriving international fliers.