Proposed Reno-London flights grounded by Fed red tape

Reno airport’s highly anticipated nonstop transatlantic service from London has hit the buffer even before it got off the ground.

Announced in November amid much fanfare, UK carrier Thomas Cook planned seasonal services to Reno-Tahoe Airport from London, but these have now been cancelled due to border control red tape.

The problem stems from the lack of US Customs and Border Protection resources at the airport.

“It’s about customer service. Our customs facility here at Reno, the staffing they have, is not going to be able to clear the Thomas Cook passengers for almost three to four hours,” said Airport spokesman Brian Kulpin.

That was unacceptable to the airline. It doesn’t fit their customer service model so they cancelled the flight. Obviously, we’re disappointed.”

Kulpin said the airport has been seeking more funding for extra customs agents to speed up passenger processing.

“Unfortunately nothing is simple when it comes to the US government and US Customs and Border Protection. To get funding for more staffing at Reno is something that has to be done through Washington D.C.”

Kulpin added that it is doubly disappointing as ticket sales were going well.

“You know, they sold tickets with about half from the US. The other half came from Europeans. The flight was doing really well in terms of sales,” he said.

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