16:06 PM

U.S. Customs at TPA to welcome international passengers for the first time in more than seven months

For the first time since late March, the international arrivals area at Tampa International Airport will be seeing some action.

JetBlue Airlines is scheduled to launch service to Cancun on Nov. 19, making it the first inbound flight to pass through TPA's U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in more than seven months.

The international arrivals area might look a little different for travelers since their last visit.

With acrylic shields at every booth and global entry machines along with social distancing signage, CBP has been working with the Airport and airlines at TPA to ensure a safe screening process. All passengers and staff will also be required to wear face coverings while in the area.

"Not only have we implemented an added degree of privacy, but also an added degree of safety," said Robert Arroyo, Assistant Area Port Director at the Area Port of Tampa.

Airline and CBP crew members will also be monitoring passenger’s health during the flights and upon deplaning. Passengers will be referred to the CDC or, if necessary, met by emergency medical personnel if they appear to be ill.

“We’re working with our partners to facilitate the safest, cleanest environment for everyone involved,” Arroyo said.

In the future, CBP plans to space flights out as much as possible in order to ensure that social distancing measures are possible – which may mean holding some flights on the ground until appropriate procedures can be followed.

"We're very happy to see international passengers coming back through our U.S. Customs facilities," said John Tiliacos, Executive Vice President of Operations at TPA. "We hope this marks the beginning of more international service to and from Tampa International Airport."

TPA has seen some other international flights resume, including both Nassau, Bahamas and Toronto, Canada, in the case of both of these destinations, passengers pre-clear U.S. Customs before boarding their flight to TPA.

To see all of TPA’s nonstop routes including those scheduled to resume, visit www.tampaairport.com/nonstop.