PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility opened Monday, Sept. 19 in hopes of more efficiently processing international passengers.

The new facility will process international passengers coming into the Pensacola International Airport on private flights, typically for corporate business.

“This is truly a great day in Pensacola and connecting Pensacola to the world,” said Mayor Grover Robinson, who celebrated the grand opening.

Prior to COVID, the airport was bringing in about 60 private international flights a year with over 500 passengers.

“We already had the stream of international flights but with Customs and Border Protection here that’s only going to grow,” said Airport Director Matt Coughlin.

Previously, Border Patrol agents were on-call employees, which caused problems when processing international passengers. Agents will now work full-time.

While only private international flights fly into Pensacola International Airport at this time, airport director Matt Coughlin said negotiations are in the works with commercial international airlines.