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Gary/Chicago International Airport's first incoming international flight cleared customs Sunday, three days after a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility opened for business.

Passengers and crew on board the Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft, arriving from Copenhagen, Denmark, were greeted by airport and customs officials. The visitors cleared customs less than 30 minutes after landing, according to airport officials.

The customs facility allows general aviation flights to land at Gary without having to stop at another airport to clear customs.

“The grand opening of the new general aviation customs facility opens the door to a whole new international market and services for the airport and its users," Airport Authority Chairman Tim Fesko said in a statement released Wednesday. "We are excited about the continued growth of the airport and the opportunities Customs at the airport will bring."

The airport's two fixed-base operators, which provide maintenance, fueling, hangar space and hospitality to airport users, said the customs facility will help them attract business.

“This onsite CBP facility will allow our FBO customers to arrive directly from international locations and continues to prove that the Gary/Chicago International Airport is becoming the business aviation airport of choice in the Chicago area,” B. Coleman Aviation President John Girzadas said.

“This new customs facility further improves our ability to compete with other major airports, while also enhancing our marketability to the corporate and general aviation community,” said Gary Jet Center President Lynn Eplawy.

The customs office is housed in a building that's also home to the airport's fire and rescue crews. The customs facility was remodeled at the cost of about $1 million this year.

The customs facility operates on an on-call basis, with 72 hours notice to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials required before a plane lands. A maximum of 20 individuals per airplane will be allowed to clear customs.

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Transportation Reporter

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.