Technically, whether an airport is a port of entry has little to do whether it is, in the eyes of the government, an international airport. For instance, as far as CBP
(US Customs & Borders Protection) is concerned, JFK
is a port of entry but not an international airport (seriously). All international airports are ports of entry, but not all port of entry airports are international airports.
A port of entry is an airport (or other point of entry) where CBP
will perform customs and immigration clearance. Ports of entries are divided in International Airports, Landings Rights Airports, Designated Airports and User Fee Airports.
An International Airport is an airport where international flights may land without prior permission from CBP
, but they nevertheless need to give advance notice of their arrival. There are 31 International Airports in the US, all of which have CBP
facilities and staff on site. 26point2 listed them in reply #2.
A Landings Right Airport is an airport where international flights need prior express consent from CBP
to land. I may be wrong, but I *think* commercial international scheduled flights may ask for a blanket permission on a per-flight basis for an extended period (a year?) instead of requesting permission to land for every flight every day. All other flights must request consent for each flight electronically, I believe at the same time as APIS is filed. Many Landing Rights Airports have CBP
facilities and staff on site, but not all do. JFK
is a Landing Rights Airport.
Designated Airports are airports located close to the border with Mexico or the Southern coastlines (California, Florida, Gulf states). If I understand/remember correctly the regulations governing their use, any aircraft not operating a commercial flight and entering US air space below 23,000 ft must land at the nearest Designated Airport for clearance, whatever their ultimate destination may be. Aircraft operators may apply for an exemption, but I don't know under what conditions they are granted. Commercial flights and aircraft flying over 23,000 ft may fly directly to an International Airport, a Landings Right Airport or a User Fee Airport, or an international destination.
User-Fee Airports are airports where CBP
estimates there is not enough traffic to provide clearance but agrees to do so nevertheless as long as someone else covers the cost. Most User-Fee Airports do not have CBP
facilities or staff on site, I believe. Permission to land must be obtained just like Landing Rights Airports.
The thinking behind not making airports such as JFK
an International Airport is that CBP
is busy enough handling commercial operations that they don't want private flights coming in willy-nilly. In fact, not one of the ten busiest airports, and only two of the twenty busiest airports (DTW
) are International Airports as far as CBP
[Edited 2011-06-08 12:16:09]
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has no clothes.